Brief Note: Sakura Plantation Program


 The Government of Meghalaya, in collaboration with Asian Confluence India East Centre, IKOUKAI Society Japan, Jaintia Fishing and Environment Protection Association, and Dorbar Chnong Panaliar organized the “Sakura Plantation Ceremony” on November 20 2019, in Syntu Ksiar, Jowai.

Chaired by Mr. Aiban Swer, Director, Meghalaya Basin Development Authority, the program hosted Mr. Toshihide Ando, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan, India, as the Chief Guest and Ms. Deepa G. Wadhwa, IFS Retd., Former Ambassador of India to Japan as the Special Guest of the ceremony.

Identifying Northeastern region as the gateway to the Southeast Asia, Mr. Toshihide Ando, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan, India harped on the strong cultural connect between the Northeast and Japan, which gains further strength through initiatives like Sakura Plantation Programs. People-to-people exchange has been one of the priority areas of Japanese cooperation in the Northeast and the IRIS Program is one such initiative in that regard, for the last couple of years. Mr. Ando remains optimistic of further strengthening of this bilateral friendship with inclusions of Japanese Language Education and Courses in 100 Indian institutions, as recently promised by Prime Minister Modi.    

Talking about her experiences of living in Japan, Ms. Deepa G. Wadhwa, IFS Retd., Former Ambassador of India to Japan, identifies striking commonalities in culture and respect for nature between the two countries. Referring to the ceremony, Ms. Wadhwa lauded the initiative of planting cherry blossoms in this part of the world as an enabler to cultural strength and togetherness. Alluding to the Japanese aids and assistance in the development discourse of all 28 states of India, Ms. Wadhwa focused on the significance of people-to-people connect in supplementing the continued friendship among the two countries in the near future.             

Other delegations from India and Japan include Mr. K. N. Kumar, Chairman, Meghalaya Farmer’s Mission, Government of Meghalaya, Mr. Tsumotu Sato, Head of Japan Chapter, Asian Confluence and Mr. Hirobumi Matsazawa, Chairman, IKOUKAI Cherry Blossom Association, Japan.

The program was further enlightened with folk song and dance of Jaintia. The tree plantations follow release of hot air balloon and a riverside walk at the Syntu Ksiar sanctuary led by the MBDA, Asian Confluence, Dorbar Chnong Panaliar and Jaintia Fishing Association and Supt of Fisheries.