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February 28, 2007

Mongolian President and SGI President Meet in Tokyo

On February 28, 2007, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda met with President Nambaryn Enkhbayar of Mongolia, who was in Japan on an official visit. Their wide-ranging discussions included their shared aspirations for Asia's future and for increased cultural and educational exchanges between Mongolia and Japan.

Mr. Ikeda (left) meets with Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar (right)

Mr. Ikeda welcomed the Mongolian president to Japan and presented a poem he had written and dedicated to Mr. Enkhbayar. This meeting, held in a Tokyo hotel, was their fourth. They first met in 1993 in Tokyo when Mr. Enkhbayar was Minister for Culture, and again in 2001 and 2003, when Mr. Enkhbayar was Prime Minister of Mongolia. Mr. Enkhbayar remarked that he always learned something new at each meeting and noted that the SGI president appeared to be healthier than ever. Mr. Ikeda congratulated the Mongolian president on his fruitful visit to Japan, especially the summit talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on February 26 where a joint statement illustrating a vision for the next decade of relations between Mongolia and Japan was announced. Mr. Ikeda remarked that with the president and the first lady's visit, Mongolia and Japan have been able to forge a new "golden bridge of friendship" as partners for peace in Asia.

At the same occasion, Soka Women's College President Katsuhiko Fukushima presented First Lady Onon Tsolmon with the college's Award of Highest Honor in recognition of her contributions in the arenas of health, education and welfare.

Mr. Enkhbayar remarked that after first meeting Mr. Ikeda, he began reading his works and found Choose Life (a dialogue between Mr. Ikeda and the British historian Arnold Toynbee translated into 26 languages including Mongolian) to be especially inspiring. He pointed out that Toynbee, too, had stressed that northern Asia would play a major role in contributing to the advancement of human civilization in the future. 

First-class morin khuur soloist Chi Borag (left photo) during a 2002 Min-On tour of Japan

Their initial meeting in 1993 led to further cultural and educational exchanges between the two countries. The Min-On Concert Association invited the National Song and Dance Ensemble of Mongolia to perform in Japan in 1994, and again in 1996 for the "Maestros of the Silk Road" series. The ensemble was also part of the 2005 "Asia Peace and Arts Festival" tour. In autumn 2007, the National Song and Dance Ensemble of Mongolia will tour Japan again by popular demand. In 1996, Ulaanbataar hosted the SGI's "World Boys and Girls Art Exhibition" and in 1997, "Dialogue with Nature," an exhibition of Mr. Ikeda's photographs. In May 2005, a dialogue series in 22 installments between Mr. Ikeda and Dojoogiin Tsedev, a renowned literary figure in Mongolia, was launched in Pumpkin, a Japanese monthly women's magazine. Soka University and the National University of Mongolia have a student exchange program. Thus far, 15 Soka University students have studied at the Mongolian university and 13 Mongolian students, at Soka University. President Nambaryn Enkhbayar has held key posts in the Mongolian government as Minister for Culture from 1992 to 1996, Prime Minister from 2000 to 2004 and Chairman of the Parliament from 2004 to 2005. He became president in May 2005. Vice President of the Mongolian Translators and Interpreter's Union and the Association of Mongolian Writers from 1980 to 1990, Mr. Enkhbayar is a renowned writer and translator of works by Tolstoy, Gogol, Dickens, Huxley, Kipling, Maugham and García Márquez into the Mongolian language. President Enkhbayar was a recipient of Soka University's honorary doctorate in 2003.

[Adapted from an article in the March 1, 2007, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]