TOKYO – To date, 20 countries have confirmed their participation in EXPO 2017, among them South Korea and Japan, who have started to prepare their pavilions, it was announced during the visit of a Kazakh delegation headed by EXPO 2017 Commissioner and First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Rapil Zhoshybayev to South Korea and Japan on March 20 – 24.
In Seoul, talks were held with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Korea Cho Tae-yul and CEO of the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) Byun Chu-seok. The meeting at the South Korean Foreign Office demonstrated the two sides’ overlapping positions on many current international issues, as well as their aligned views on the prospects of strengthening bilateral cooperation. Zhoshybayev thanked South Korea for its support of Kazakhstan’s candidature for a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council. He also briefed his interlocutor on preparations for EXPO 2017 and officially invited South Korea to take part in the exposition with a letter of invitation from President Nursultan Nazarbayev to President of Korea Park Geun-hye.
During the talks with the KTO, Zhoshybayev briefed the organisation on steps taken to develop tourism in Kazakhstan as EXPO 2017 approaches and invited South Korea to more actively utilise Kazakhstan’s tourism potential, especially in light of the visa-free regime introduced between the two countries last year. A memorandum of understanding between the EXPO 2017 National Company and the KTO was signed following the meeting outlining the prospective areas of cooperation.
Kazakhstan’s delegation also visited the Samsung company’s high-tech exposition complex, D-Light, which houses some of the company’s most advanced new technological solutions, including those dealing with alternative and renewable sources of energy.
In Tokyo, the EXPO 2017 commissioner met with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan Takashi Uto, Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan Norihiko Ishiguro, President of the Japan Association of Travel Agencies (JATA) Tatsuro Nakamura and Executive Vice-President of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Soichi Yoshimura.
During negotiations at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the parties noted the high level of political, trade, economic and investment cooperation between their two countries. They also stressed the importance of arranging the official visit of Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe to Astana in 2015, which is seen as a sign of a growing bilateral partnership.
Zhoshybayev also handed his Japanese colleague an official message from President Nazarbayev to Prime Minister Abe concerning Kazakhstan’s bid for the UN Security Council seat.
With Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan Norihiko Ishiguro, who also co-chairs the Joint Kazakh-Japanese Commission on Economic Cooperation for the State and Private Sectors, Zhoshybayev discussed preparations for the sixth meeting of the Kazakh-Japanese Commission in Tokyo in 2015 and the interaction of specialised government agencies on attracting corporate participants to EXPO 2017, especially those working in energy, machinery and high technologies. Zhoshybayev underlined that the exposition would be a platform for presenting Kazakhstan’s scientific potential in renewable energy and would also provide a new incentive for the promotion of multilateral cooperation in this sphere.
Ishiguro announced that Japan had officially decided to take part in EXPO 2017. Japanese corporations including Toyota, Mitsubishi and others have already expressed their readiness to participate in the expo in Astana.
In the course of the conversation with the president of the JATA, the parties agreed to more actively promote Kazakhstan as a tourism destination, including its historical monuments and cultural heritage along the ancient Silk Road.
Nakamura told Zhoshybayev that Kazakhstan was included among the countries most recommended to Japanese tourists to visit and also expressed the hope that the introduction of a visa-free regime for citizens of Japan would significantly increase the flow of the Japanese tourists to Kazakhstan.
Ahead of the expo commissioner’s visit, a special presentation of videos about Kazakhstan and the upcoming EXPO 2017 was organised by the Kazakh Embassy in Japan at two terminals in Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport.
The Kazakh Foreign Ministry’s press service reports that in 2015, the organising committee of EXPO 2017 is planning to secure confirmations of participation in the international specialised exhibition in Astana from up to 60 foreign countries and international organisations.