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Argentina and Japan commemorate the 120th anniversary of Diplomatic Relations

09 February 2018
Información para la Prensa N°: 

This year marks the 120th anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Argentina and Japan under the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation signed between the two countries on 3 February 1898, which entered into force in September 1901.

Since December 2015, Argentina has pursued a foreign policy aimed at strengthening bilateral relationships with its historical partners. Within this framework, the Argentine Government has assigned high priority to the relationship with Japan. This was reflected in the establishment of a "strategic partnership", which was announced during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Argentina in November 2016 -57 years after the first visit of a Japanese leader- and ratified through President Macri's May 2017 visit to Tokyo, where he was also received by Emperor Akihito and leading Japanese businesspeople. Macri was the first Argentine Head of State to visit Japan after 19 years.

It should also be noted that, during the last two years, 12 mutual high-profile visits at the ministerial level have taken place and several economic and investment fora have been organized.

Argentina is the 5th main Latin American exporter to Japan. Furthermore, the number of Japanese companies operating in Argentina has recently increased from 50 to 74. Investment stock and announcements combined amount to USD 1.624 billion, especially in the automobile and mining (lithium) industries. Other examples of this new stage of bilateral relations include the Bilateral Investment Treaty and the Customs Cooperation Agreement, which are in the final stages of negotiation.

The flow of bilateral trade during January-November 2017 increased by 10% vis-à-vis 2016, amounting to USD 1.694 billion. The MERCOSUR - JAPAN dialogue has also showed progress in the past few months.
In connection with the G20, the two countries have been working jointly and cooperating, since Argentina is the 2018 chair and Japan will take over the presidency in 2019. Japan also supports Argentina's OECD membership bid.

The 120th anniversary of diplomatic relations is a milestone that exceeds cooperation in the political, cultural and economic fields, and is reflected in the historical respect and mutual appreciation expressed by the two countries.

In 1886, the first Japanese immigrant, Kinzo Makino, settled in Argentina. According to the records of the census conducted in 1895 under José Uriburu's administration, 10 Japanese people were settled in Argentina. 1908 marked the beginning of the first stage of the Japanese immigration wave to Argentina.

Our country has always recognized the contribution of the Nikkei people, its culture, its attitude and its work. All these virtues have been major contributions to the development of the Argentine society and people. Japanese immigration has built a bridge between the two countries and their cultures.

The Argentine diaspora in Japan includes around 4500 people. The Japanese diaspora in Argentina, which includes nearly 54 thousand people, is the third largest diaspora in Latin America.

Tango is the main artistic expression that evidences the ties between the two peoples. There are few countries in the world that share such a deep, genuine and historical bond with tango. In the 40s, there were already many Japanese tango orchestras, such as the renowned Orquesta Típica Tokio. Juan Canaro's orchestra was the first Argentine orchestra to perform in Japan, in 1954. From the 60s onwards, several Japanese singers stood out with their distinctive style, and became famous at the regional and global levels. One remarkable event was the 1964 Japan tour of Quinteto Real, a band led by Horacio Salgán. There are tango clubs in many cities in Japan, and the tango festivals organized there are the most important in the region.

The first official Argentine mission to Japan was headed by Commader Onofre Betbeder on board the Sarmiento frigate, which arrived at Yokohama port, Tokyo Bay, on 25 August 1899 on its first voyage.

Around the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the May Revolution, President Figueroa Alcorta signed an executive order on 11 May 1910 accepting the relevant letters of credence and recognizing Mr. Hioki Eki Shôgoi as Japan's diplomatic representative.

In 1903, Argentina inaugurated its first consulate in Japan, and, in May 1952, the Argentine Embassy established in Tokyo.

1961 marked the first visit of an Argentine President to Japan: Arturo Frondizi paid an official visit to Japan alongside a large business delegation. On the occasion of such visit, several agreements were signed, including a new Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation; an Agreement on Animal Health and an Agreement on Migration.

Press release No. 043/18
Press Office: 4819-7375 / 8296 / 7388