ASEAN-Japan Festival in Laos Celebrates 50th Year of Relations

09/12/2023 14:05
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ຂປລ (KPL) Locals, residents and visitors to the capital of Laos numbering some 2,500 have been treated to the sights, sounds and tastes of Japan and ASEAN countries.

The opening ceremony of the ASEAN-Japan Festival was held in Vientiane on December 8,2023.

(KPL) Locals, residents and visitors to the capital of Laos numbering some 2,500 have been treated to the sights, sounds and tastes of Japan and ASEAN countries.

The ASEAN-Japan Festival was held in Vientiane on December 8 and 9 at the outdoor areas surrounding the Parkson Shopping Mall.

The Festival opened with a welcome to Mr. Vanxay Phengxoumma, Deputy Head of Office, Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, Ms. Suanesavanh Vignaket, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism,  Mr. Phoxay Khaykhamphithoune, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs,  Mr. Kenichi Kobayashi, Ambassador of Japan to the Lao PDR, representatives of the diplomatic corps, dignitaries and members of the public.

Mr. Kenichi Kobayashi, Ambassador of Japan to the Lao PDR

Addressing the event , Ambassador Kobayashi highlighted the significance of the 50th year of ASEAN-Japan friendship and cooperation, and stressed that Japan would like to jointly set out the direction of the future of ASEAN-Japan relations and new visions for cooperation, at the Commemorative Summit meeting to be held in Tokyo from December 16 to 18. He also expressed his hope to further strengthen the ASEAN- Japan relationship, and to take Laos-Japan bilateral relationship to new heights, as Laos will be assuming the ASEAN chairmanship next year, and the two countries will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2025.

The cultural program kicked off with an opening Friday-afternoon concert extravaganza. It brought to audiences the breathtaking live performance of Shakuhachi (Japanese traditional bamboo flute) by Yosuke Irie, a renowned Shakuhachi player. His innovative playing style combining traditional and modern techniques, creating a unique sound, captivated many audiences' hearts.

 A Japanese rock band, CHAI, also made appearance in Laos for the first time. Asserting that everyone has their own version of "cuteness," CHAI introduced a new concept of kawaii (cute) called "NEO Kawaii," and blew minds in the assembled audience with their remarkable songwriting sense and performance.

The concert warmed up as famous local singers and artists, Aluna, Alee, Taiy Akard, and Black Eyes joined on stage with their passionate and emotion-driven performances, which received extensive applause from the large audience gathered

Aliya Inthavong shared her experience of visiting Japan, representing Laos at the 61 Miss International Beauty Pageant 2023 in Tokyo, and introduced Japan's tourist attractions, together with Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Bangkok Office.

Attracting the hearts of many visitors, over ten volunteer groups including primary and secondary school students, shared their talents of music and dance performances. Lao Judo Federation, Lao Karatedo Federation, Lao National Aikido Club and Lao Kendo Club showcased the spirit of Japanese Budo with their martial arts demonstration. JICA volunteers mesmerized the audience with demonstrations of Kendo and calligraphy.

Other highlights included music, dance, and a special quiz competition featuring the 50 years of ASEAN-Japan friendship and cooperation, where participants competed for prizes and personal achievement in front of a large audience. At the end of the event, Lao "Cosplayers" dressed up as various Japanese anime characters and performed songs and dances, ending the Festival in spectacular fashion.

During the festival, ASEAN and Japanese related organizations and embassies exhibited booths and entertained visitors with various exhibits and cultural experience activities.

ASEAN-Japan Festival was organized by the Embassy of Japan in the Lao PDR, in cooperation with Japan Foundation Vientiane Liaison Office, JICA Laos Office, Laos- Japan Institute (LJI), Lao People's Revolutionary Youth Union, and Miss International Laos Organization.