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Official visit to Japan by the President of the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia, Alojz Kovšca

The President of the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia, Alojz Kovšca, paid an official visit to Japan from 6 to 11 November 2022, upon the invitation of the Speaker of the Senate of Japan, Hidehisa Otsuji. President of the National Council Alojz Kovšca was accompanied by the State Councillors, Bojan Kekec and Mitja Gorenšček.

The visit was organised to mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Slovenia and Japan. It aimed at encouraging the development of bilateral relations and seeking new forms of cooperation in the future, in particular between the two upper houses of both Parliaments.

In the framework of the official visit, several bilateral talks were held with senior representatives of Japan, both in the legislative and executive branches of government, as well as at Hiroshima city level.

In addition to the meeting with the host, the President of the National Council, Alojz Kovšca, met with the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Japan, Hiroyuki Hosoda, and Ichiro Aisawa, Chairman of the Japan-Slovenia Friendship Group in the Japanese Parliament. At the meetings, close relations between the two countries were confirmed and interest in strengthening inter-parliamentary cooperation was expressed.

The delegation was received separately by Kenji Yamada, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Fusae Ota, Deputy Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan. Discussions were held on the situation in East Asia, relations with China, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis. Both sides considered that there were many opportunities to strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries.

In the second part of the official visit, the delegation visited Hiroshima, where it paid a visit to the Peace Memorial Park. President of the National Council, Alojz Kovšca, accompanied by the Mayor and the President of the Hiroshima City Council, laid a wreath to the victims of the atomic bomb.

The delegation was also received by the President of Hiroshima University, Dr Mitsuo Ochi, who expressed his wish for closer cooperation with Slovenian universities.

In the presence of Carolin Funck, Vice-President of Hiroshima University, the President of the National Council, Alojz Kovšca, opened an exhibition on Alma M. Karlin, entitled "Japan at last", funded and prepared by The Celje Regional Museum and prepared by Barbara Trnovec. The exhibition was supported by The Celje Regional Museum in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Tokyo and prepared by Barbara Trnovec from The Celje Regional Museum. The exhibition was accompanied by a panel entitled "Her Adventurous Spirit: Crossing Borders with Alma M. Karlin", moderated by Prof. Dr. Tinka Delakorda Kawashima from Hiroshima University.

At the end of the visit, the delegation visited the Kure Naval Self-Defence Force Base, where they were received by Vice Admiral Hiroshi Ito.