Speech of the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the official reception in Kyoto, organized on behalf of the prefecture, the municipality and the Chamber of Commerce of the town in honor of the President of Azerbaijan. February 27, 1998

Mr. Vice-Governor,

Mr. Vice-Mayor,

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

I cordially greet you and convey to you, and in your person to all the residents of the ancient Kyoto the best wishes of the people of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Azerbaijan.

I paid an official visit to your country and it is my first official visit to Japan.

I held a lot of meetings here. I had a very interesting and pleasant meeting with His Majesty the Emperor Akihito. I met and had a conversation with Prime Minister Mr. Hashimoto. I had meetings with many members of the government, business circles and the media in Japan. This visit is of historical importance, because it establishes direct relations between Japan and Azerbaijan. I mean that we signed with Mr. Hashimoto very important intergovernmental, interstate documents yesterday.

You know that Azerbaijan gained its independence recently, in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. We establish equal and mutually beneficial relations with all the countries of the world, and it is very important for us that we have established good and friendly relations with Japan.

Yesterday, Prime Minister of Japan Mr. Hashimoto and the Azerbaijani President Aliyev signed two important documents, a joint statement on friendship and partnership between our two countries and joint statement on cooperation in the sphere of trade and economy between Japan and Azerbaijan. These documents are of historical importance for us because they reflected the basic principles and specific directions of strengthening friendship and cooperation between our two countries.

I devoted much of my time in Tokyo on meetings with the presidents of the major Japanese companies, representatives of the business world. This is very significant and important for us. This shows the great interest of the Japanese business community in Azerbaijan and the great possibilities of economic cooperation between our countries. I am pleased to say that some major Japanese companies are already working with us in Azerbaijan. After this visit, their number will increase, because of the signed agreements and contracts with some companies. Six major Japanese companies have opened their offices in Azerbaijan.

We have laid a good foundation for strengthening friendship and cooperation between our two countries.

Today I arrived in the ancient capital of Japan, Kyoto, which I desired for a long time. I read a lot about Japan, its history, its ancient culture and traditions, including the city of Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. Standing here in this well-known city of the world with a rich and long history, traditions, values, I want to express my deep respect for the long history, culture and traditions of the Japanese people, and everything that they have done to develop the mankind on the earth.

Japan is a country of ancient culture and rich traditions. Today Japan is a country with its leading position in the economic, scientific and technical life of the world. After the World War II the Japanese people within a short time made a big leap in the development of science, technology, science and technology and economy and led his country to the number of the economically developed countries. Indeed, there are all grounds to say that the rich culture and modern life of Japan, which custodian is Kyoto, combines perfectly with the scientific discoveries, advanced, highly developed technology and economy. It is a fact that in Kyoto the ancient history blends with the present, it is a famous city in the world.

I express my deep tribute for your history and your outstanding contemporary achievements. In order to see it with my own eyes and to get acquainted with Kyoto a little, I decided today to come to your city.

Thank you for the warm welcome, hospitality and for the evening. I hope that within a short time I can get acquainted with Kyoto, the history of Japan, the Japanese Empire and all those ancient monuments located in your city.

I wish all the best, health, happiness, prosperity and peace to the residents of Kyoto. Thank you.

Translated from the newspaper “Azerbaijan”, February 29, 1998