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Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011

New envoy promotes Kyrgyzstan

Staff writer

Kyrgyzstan's new ambassador to Japan, Rysbek Moldogaziev, is determined to raise his country's profile among the Japanese public, which still knows little about the small Central Asian nation.

News photo
Brand building: Kyrgyzstan Ambassador Rysbek Moldogaziev gives a lecture at Aoyama Gakuin University in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, on Tuesday. SATOKO KAWASAKI

"I want to strengthen friendly ties between Kyrgyzstan and Japan, both in the business and private sectors," Moldogaziev said in fluent Japanese during a lecture Tuesday at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

As next year marks the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Kyrgyzstan, Moldogaziev, 42, said he hopes to use the occasion to strengthen bilateral ties.

Kyrgyzstan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and became a parliamentary democracy after President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was overthrown during an uprising in April 2010.

The country's population stands at around 5 million.

In his lecture, the 11th in a series by Tokyo-based ambassadors cosponsored by The Japan Times, Moldogaziev said he wants to start strengthening economic ties between Japan and Kyrgyzstan by holding seminars and forums in both countries.

"We plan to organize a seminar in Japan to call for investment in our country's rare earth mining (sector), and a business forum in Kyrgyzstan," he said.

Moldogaziev, who was appointed ambassador in September, first visited Japan in 1995, and studied the Japanese language and culture at Osaka University of Foreign Studies in Minoo, Osaka Prefecture. The institution merged with Osaka University in 2007.

He then gained a master's degree in political science at Aoyama Gakuin University in 1999.

The ambassador said he hopes to promote Kyrgyzstan's tourism industry, and described his country as a good destination for Japanese tourists.

"Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country with beautiful nature, and an abundance of rivers and lakes," he said, adding that Japanese nationals don't need visas to enter the country.

Moldogaziev also stressed the importance of holding cultural exchanges at the community level, and said he plans to arrange events to raise awareness levels about Kyrgyzstan among the Japanese.

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