At the opening of the new Hungarian Cultural Institute in Tokyo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said: “Cultural cooperation represents an outstanding hinterland for the development of political and economic relations”.

In his speech, the Minister recalled: “150 years ago, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Japan signed an agreement on their friendship, and on trade and shipping; today we would say they established diplomatic relations”. “One hundred and fifty years is a very long time, but the developments of these one hundred and fifty years give us the right to state: relations between Japan and Hungary have never been as good as they are today”, he said. “One of the most important reasons for this is that our relations have always been characterised by mutual respect”, he added.

“The geographical distance between the two countries is large, and accordingly cooperation must be given stable foundations, which can to the greatest extent be assured by relations between people, and this in turn can be built best through education and culture”, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted. “The fact that the history of both Japan and Hungary is extremely rich and both have high quality education are a huge help in this”, he said, noting that the Japanese young people studying in Hungary connect the two countries and will work committedly to expand bilateral relations.

“Hungary strove to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in a worthy manner this year, organising cultural, scientific and economy-themed events”, the Foreign Minister emphasised. “There is great interest in Hungarian opera and operetta performances in Japan, Zoltán Kodály is regarded as an important link between the music of the two countries, and the Japanese public know Hungarian classical music very well”, he explained, adding: “In addition, other areas of the arts are also regularly on show”.

“The opening of the Hungarian Cultural Institute is creating another opportunity for the development of relations, and is increasing the number of Hungarian cultural institutes worldwide to 26”, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted.

“Japan and Hungary are continuously gaining strength even amid the changes, and we are talking about two countries that are proud of their national identity, culture and historical traditions, and only countries of this kind can be strong”, he stated. “And all this provides a good foundation for enabling Hungary and Japan to build their relations further”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister said.