SANTIAGO – Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet and Prince Akishino of Japan and his wife, Princess Kiko, commemorated on Wednesday the 120th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in the Chilean capital of Santiago.
Bachelet and the Japanese royal couple, who are on an official visit to Chile, presided over the ceremony held at the seat of the President, La Moneda Palace, to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the signing of the treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation in 1897.
The Chilean president stressed that both nations share the vision of the Pacific Ocean as a “neighborhood” and praised their close links of cooperation in different fields.
“This closeness is reflected in the strong ties of our parliaments, in cultural and scientific exchanges, in the valuable support of Japan’s cooperation in renewable energies, astronomy, environmental protection and Antarctic research,” Bachelet said.
The Chilean president highlighted the cooperation in the prevention and management of natural disasters, and said that what both countries also have in common is the “earthquake destiny,” as they have suffered some of the most devastating earthquakes and tsunamis ever recorded.
She also recalled that Japan was one of the first countries to offer aid to Chile following the magnitude-8.8 earthquake in February 2010 and its subsequent tsunami that devastated the coast in some areas of the country’s south.
Regarding the economic relations, Bachelet stressed that it has been a decade since the signing of the economic partnership agreement between the two countries, and announced that a new round of consultations to update that agreement will begin in November.
Prince Akishino, for his part, said that Japan and Chile enjoyed “prosperous ties and friendship in the 120 years of history,” and emphasized cooperation in the prevention of natural disasters.
“We both have suffered from natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, so over the last 30 years we have made progress in preventing disasters by sharing experiences,” he said.
Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, who will remain in Chile until Sunday, will visit the Santiago Japanese School on Thursday and then will travel to Valparaiso to learn about the facilities of the Navy Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service (SHOA).