140 years of friendship between Serbia and Japan was marked

15. Jun 2022.
Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs solemnly marked the anniversary – 140 years of friendship between Serbia and Japan.

On this occasion, the distinguished guests were addressed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selaković, Director of the Post of Serbia Zoran Đorđević and Ambassador of Japan Takahiko Katsumata.

Pointing out that the date of the first diplomatic correspondence between Serbian King Milan Obrenović and Japanese Emperor Meiji in 1882 was being marked, Selaković proudly noted that there were not many countries in the world that had the contacts and cooperation that Serbia and Japan had in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

 “The past 140 years have been marked by tumultuous historical events, wars and economic crises and, in almost all periods, Serbia and Japan have maintained contacts and cooperation that we remain proud of today”, Selaković said, adding that the great geographic distance between our two states has never discouraged aspirations by both sides to encourage and cherish mutual cooperation and friendship." 

Minister Selaković stated that nowadays the cooperation between our two countries was successfully developing in a large number of areas, with excellent mutual contacts between our officials and an intensive and open political dialogue. He also noted that Serbia has hosted high-ranking Japanese officials, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Taro Kono in recent years, as well as that Prime Minister Ana Brnabić has attended the enthronement ceremony of Japanese Emperor Naruhito. The Minister said he was looking forward to new fruitful contacts, which are being intensively inquired.

“We are very pleased with the fact that the Republic of Serbia and Japan are recording significant results in the economic field, and that Japanese companies have recognised the benefits of their presence in our country,” said the Minister and underlined that the Government of Serbia was ready to provide all necessary assistance to new Japanese investors in their business ventures.

In his address Selaković especially pointed out that the Serbian and Japanese peoples were supporting each other even in difficult times, and that the Ambassador of Japan was among the few who remained in Serbia all 78 days of NATO aggression in 1999, as well as that the great earthquake in Japan in 2011 awakened great solidarity of the Serbian people and the desire to help the friendly Japanese people in need.

“Every citizen of Belgrade knows about the yellow buses from Japan, the popular “Japanese” which are a symbol of Japanese unselfish donations and help provided to our country in the past two decades. I take this opportunity to express my great gratitude for the exceptional solidarity and assistance provided by Japan to the citizens of Serbia, which, including donations, favourable yen loans and technical assistance, exceeded EUR 508 million. The Serbian people do not forget that,” said the Minister, adding that numerous persons have also contributed to the friendship between Serbia and Japan and received the highest state decorations of the Republic of Serbia and Japan for their contribution to improving cooperation between the two countries.

Director of the Post of Serbia Zoran Đorđević presented a special edition of postage stamps issued as part of this anniversary, stating that the Post of Serbia in this way wanted to contribute to the celebration of that important anniversary.

“There is no doubt that the friendship between Serbia and Japan exists and lasts, and I am sure that this friendship will be even greater in the future,” Đorđević said.

Ambassador of Japan Takahiko Katsumata pointed out that the friendship between Serbia and Japan was developing well, that relations in various spheres were cherished, and he emphasised that political dialogue, diplomatic cooperation and economic and business relations have improved in recent years.

“Japan will never forget the support of the Serbian people when 11 years ago Japan was hit by a great earthquake and tsunami, in which more than 20,000 people lost their lives.

I sincerely hope that this exhibition will bring our two peoples and cultures even closer and that it will illustrate the history of our relations to the visitors,” the Ambassador said.

In the end, all the guests had the opportunity to take a tour of the exhibition set up as part of this anniversary, which showed the most important documents from the Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry and the Archives of Yugoslavia, which testify to the rich cooperation between the two countries.

The ceremony was attended by numerous persons who contributed to the strengthening of ties between Serbia and Japan, such as Dragan Stojković Piksi, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador to Japan Ivan Mrkić and Professor Ljiljana Marković .