100 Years of Friendship


Year 2019 will mark the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Finland. It is a significant and historical milestone for our leaders and diplomats.

Most importantly, however, it is a celebration for the friendly and booming relations between the Japanese and Finnish people. It is the individuals from many walks of life – such as artists, researchers, tourists, businessmen and women – who are tying up the knots in a vast network of connections that make up our day-to-day relations.

As we celebrate the history of a century of Finnish-Japanese friendship, this is a good moment to observe what we have achieved together. From two geographically and culturally fairly distant countries we have grown to become strategic partners in international affairs, in research and in innovation, and developed close relations in business and arts as well.

The trade between our countries is growing fast. Finnish exports to Japan broke records in 2017 reaching nearly 1.3 billion euros. The investments from Japan to Finland have already for some time been very significant, around a billion euros per year, and we are optimistic that investments will grow in the future. As global leaders in innovation Finnish and Japanese companies and research institutions have a huge potential to deepen further their cooperation for future orientated solutions.

Our bilateral political relations are indeed those of close partners and friends. We share the same values and view the world in very similar terms. Joint statement on strategic partnership given by our leaders in 2016 has brought us even closer giving additional boost to co-operation in many fields from defense and security policy to innovation, environment and social affairs - to name but a few.

 

The growing interest of Finland and Japan towards each other is also true in arts and culture. During last decades, we have witnessed clear growth in bilateral contacts, joint performances, visiting exhibitions and other cultural cooperation. The best manifestation of this is the anniversary year’s event calendar at this website: our festive year will witness the largest cultural exchange between Japan and Finland ever.

Finally, it is remarkable to note how extensive and many-sided our people-to-people relations are today. Take as an example the over twenty Japan-Finland friendship associations working actively across Japan, or the almost forty weekly direct flights connecting our cities. And most of all, it is heart-warming to see how positive our people’s attitudes are towards each other. We have a lot of similarities that unite us; the way we are, and for instance, how we appreciate nature and design.

The 100th anniversary of our relations is a good moment to turn our vision towards future. I am particularly excited to be able to serve in Japan this festive year and to be able personally contribute to the continuation of our growing interaction. Let’s take this year as a celebration of the next 100 years of our friendship together!

Pekka Orpana
Ambassador of Finland to Japan

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