On December 1 and 2, the Russian-Japanese Youth Forum was held online, which became one of the key events within the framework of the Russian-Japanese Youth Exchanges Plan for 2020. More than 40 young people from Russia and Japan participated in the Forum with students, young specialists, and representatives of youth public associations involved.
Within the framework of the working sections, the participants discussed the contribution of young people to the development of sister cities and the regions of the two countries, youth exchanges in sports, the role and prospects of youth exchanges under the pandemic, as well as areas of cooperation and specific proposals in the situation of the spreading coronavirus infection.
Elena Druzhinina, Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, addressed the Forum participants with a word of welcome. She pointed out the great importance for the Ministry to be able to maintain a direct dialogue between the youth of Russia and Japan, even under the pandemic. “In the year of sister city exchanges, we have planned an extensive program, which includes a whole series of joint events in cultural, sports, scientific and other important areas of youth life. We are happy that the intensity of our interaction is only growing with the passing years, and the geography of events held both in Russia and Japan is expanding”.
According to Elena Druzhinina, the two-way communication is necessary for the young people to independently determine the topics of joint events, choose the formats for the interaction they need and select interesting locations for the meeting. “I am convinced that the ideas and specific proposals for youth cooperation developed at the Forum will contribute to the expansion of youth exchanges at the level of the sister cities and the regions, and will also contribute to the enhancement of Russian-Japanese relations,” the Deputy Minister added.
Toyohisa Kozuki, the Japanese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Russian Federation, said: “Since the first forum in Moscow in 2006, more than 800 young people from Japan and Russia have taken part in the event and strengthened their friendship through lively discussions. In 2017, on the occasion of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, the forum participants paid a courtesy call to the ex-Prime Minister Abe. I also attended this meeting. I was aware of the importance of the future-oriented relationships between the students who are responsible for the lives of both countries. This year you could not meet in person, but thanks to the online format, it has become possible to participate in the Forum. In order to deepen the friendship between Japan and Russia, it is very important to continue exchanges without losing the existing platforms for discussion. I would like to express my respect and gratitude to everyone who has made an effort to organize this forum”.
Youth exchange is a special type of an international event, based, first and foremost, on the partnership of two organizations: both from Russia and Japan. These can be schools, universities, youth organizations and sports clubs. Every year, as part of the Russian-Japanese Youth Exchanges Plan implementation, about 70 events are held in the field of culture, sports, academic exchanges, the study of the Russian and the Japanese languages, and the environmental studies. Bilateral youth forums held annually both in Russia and Japan, have become traditional. The Russian-Japanese Youth Forum is being held by RTU MIREA that for several years has been acting as the Coordination Bureau of Russian-Japanese youth exchanges together with the Japan-Russia Center for Youth Exchanges (Japan) and the support of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
The Russian-Japanese youth cooperation is carried out in conformity with the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of Japan on the establishment of a Russian-Japanese Commission on youth exchanges, dated March 15, 1999.