RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Japan are working closely to enhance cooperation in the fields of culture and sports within the framework of the Vision 2030.
“The two countries are also discussing the possibility to set up a world-class orchestra in the Kingdom following the performance of a Japanese orchestra concert in Riyadh recently,” said Japanese Ambassador Norihio Okuda, here Tuesday.
The proposal from Saudis is at a preliminary stage, but artists and technicians who participated in the first Japanese orchestra concert are enthusiastic.
“Japanese side has started to discuss the possibility of Japan’s cooperation in the field of culture including the establishment of a Saudi orchestra and the construction of a cultural complex, which is supposed to house cinemas, opera house and concert halls,” Okuda said. “In fact, the first Japanese Full Orchestra Concert was a grand success.”
The orchestra proposal, if given green light, will eventually lead to establishing a large instrumental ensemble accompanying musicians who will be able to perform in the Kingdom. The Riyadh-based King Fahd Culture Center, where Sawakami Opera Foundation staged the first show, has had facilities and musical instruments for setting up the world-class orchestra group.
“Japan has also been asked to provide some knowhow and provide special technology to help make the huge cultural complex a high level facility in Saudi Arabia,” Okuda said. “Japan is very much interested to be part of this project.”
The diplomat also said that the two sides have started “structural cooperation in the field of sports also.”
He noted that Japan dispatched karate experts to Saudi Arabia in January. The experts were sent not only to train Saudi youngsters, but also to see how in the future Japan can collaborate with Saudi Karate Federation.
In March, Japan again sent two judo experts to the Kingdom, giving a new boost to promote Japanese fighting skills.
“In fact, this is now good time to jointly promote Japanese martial art, as Tokyo will host Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020,” he noted. “Hence, we have started promoting our martial arts like judo and karate.”
“We want to help some Saudi judo and karate players to enable them to get some medals in Tokyo Olympic games,” he added. To this end, he said the Kingdom and Japan have set up a joint ministerial group to implement plans and programs of the Saudi Vision 2030.

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