Shillong, Nov 25 (IANS) Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad K. Sangma, and Ambassador of Japan to India, Satoshi Suzuki, on Thursday inaugurated the three-day Cherry Blossom Festival at the Polo 5th Ground here.
The festival, which could not be held last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, coincides with the annual blossoming of pink cherry flowers in most parts of the state capital and many other parts of the mountainous state.
The first edition of Shillong Literary Festival, which is also a part of the Cherry Blossom Festival, was also launched on the occasion.
Various competitions, including singing and dancing, fashion shows, local wine-making, and Japanese and Korean food preparation, among other events, would be held during the three-day festival.
Addressing the inaugural function, Suzuki said that he was impressed by the different facades of the state potrayed through the festival and also informed that cherry blossom or 'Sakura' is the national flower of Japan, which is also a source of inspiration for the Japanese people.
Meghalaya has a potential to attract more tourists, especially from different parts of the world, due to its unique landscape and environment, he said.
Suzuki also informed that Japan is again starting the TITP (Technical Intern Training Programme) to facilitate international workers to work for up to five years in Japan.
"India and Japan have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) on a basic partnership framework for operation of the specified skilled worker (SSW) system under which the Japanese government accepts foreign nationals who have a certain level of expertise and skill," the Japanese envoy said.
The SSW is a new status of residence created by Japan in 2019 under which skilled Indian nationals can obtain jobs and stay in Japan.
Suzuki also said that Japan is proud of being a close partner to northeast India based on historical ties, trust and friendship.
Sangma said that the northeast region has immense potential and talent, and the region is a good platform for enterprising people.
"As Meghalaya would be celebrating its 50 years of attaining statehood early next year, a series of events and programmes would be undertaken to enable the youth to showcase their talents," he said.