Celebrating 160 Years of Diplomatic Relations image
Celebrating 160 Years of Diplomatic Relations image

Celebrating 160 Years of Diplomatic Relations

A Night of Heritage, Precision, Innovation, and Friendship

On February 6, 2024, in the elegant setting of the Swiss Ambassador’s residence, history and innovation converged to commemorate a remarkable milestone: 160 years of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Japan. The evening gathered almost 300 guests, including CEOs, ambassadors, State Ministers, Swiss and Japanese partners as well as members of the Swiss community.

160 years? Precisely!

The celebration commemorated the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Switzerland and Japan on February 6, 1864. This special event not only recognized a rich history but also emphasized the diverse and vibrant bonds between the two nations. The focus on the birth of their relationship, rooted in business and watchmaking, was themed around the concept of "Precision".

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 great 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.

From Tradition to Innovation

The celebration continued with musical performances by James Varghese, accompanied by Swiss and Japanese yodelers Simone Felber and Keiko Ito, creating a harmonious blend of cultures. The event also featured an exhibition showcasing historical Girard-Perregaux watches, a panel display by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH, and a visually stunning projection by Montage, recounting the rich history of friendship between Switzerland and Japan.

One of the innovative highlights of the evening was the incorporation of technology into tradition. Guests were treated to the unique experience of being served raclette by a robot, the Roboclette, 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. These ambassadors will help to foster exchanges on the road to Expo 2025, contributing to a vitalized future for the bilateral relationship between Switzerland and Japan.

Celebrating 160 Years of Diplomatic Relations image

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