Celebrating 160 Years of Diplomatic Relations between Switzerland and Japan

Local news, 06.02.2024

On February 6, 2024, at the official residence of the Swiss Ambassador to Japan, about 300 guests, including CEOs, ambassadors, State Ministers, Swiss and Japanese partners as well as members of the Swiss community gathered to mark 160 years of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Japan. The evening seamlessly blended history, precision, and innovation in an elegant setting.

Celebration of the 160th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Japan
Celebration of the 160th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Japan © Ayako Suzuki

The celebration marked the 160th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Switzerland and Japan on February 6, 1864. The festivities commenced with the soulful rendition of the national anthems by Swiss yodeler Simone Felber and Japanese yodeler Keiko Ito. Thereafter, opening speeches from Ambassador of Switzerland to Japan, Dr. Andreas Baum, and Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, Dr. Masahito Moriyama, were held. Both speakers emphasized the immense potential for collaboration in science, technology, and innovation between Switzerland and Japan. The official ceremony concluded with a heartfelt toast by Vitality Ambassador Seishiro Eto, Member of the House of Representatives and President of the Japan-Switzerland Parliamentary Friendship League.

The celebration continued with musical performances by James Varghese, accompanied by Swiss and Japanese yodellers Simone Felber and Keiko Ito, creating a harmonious blend of cultures. The event also featured an exhibition of historical Girard-Perregaux watches, a display by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH, and a visually stunning projection by Montage recounting the friendship's history. Moreover, an innovative touch was included thanks to Roboclette, guests were served raclette by a robot, symbolizing the fusion of precision, tradition, and innovation.

The evening also marked the introduction of 5 new Vitality Ambassadors – TV celebrity Haruka Christine, ballet dancer Mizuka Ueno, model and photographer Basil Kräher, fashion designer and artist Kazu Huggler, and swordsmith Johan Leutwiler – who will help to foster exchanges on the road to Expo 2025, contributing to a vitalized future for the bilateral relationship between Switzerland and Japan.

The Vitality.Swiss program will continue to celebrate 160 years of friendship by highlighting significant episodes and fostering co-creation leading up to the Swiss Pavilion at World Expo 2025.

For more information on the 160th anniversary: Vitality.Swiss