Announcement of Foreign Minister’s Commendations (February 6, 2024)

On February 6, 1864, the Treaty of Amity and Commerce was concluded between Japan and Switzerland to establish the diplomatic relations between the two countries. Exactly 160 years later, on February 6, 2024, the following individuals and organizations in Switzerland will receive the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for their significant contributions to the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and Switzerland:
  • Mr. Ichiro ANDO, Director of the Japanese Information Bureau in Grindelwald
  • Ms. Yasuyo ANDO, Deputy Director of the Japanese Information Bureau in Grindelwald
Mr. and Ms. Ando have long been involved in sister city exchanges between Grindelwald and Azumi Village (now Matsumoto City) in Nagano Prefecture, as well as in exchanges between Grindelwald and Myoko City in Niigata Prefecture and Zermatt, among others. They have contributed greatly to the promotion of municipal exchange between Japan and Switzerland.
  • Bernisches Historisches Museum
The Bernisches Historisches Museum possesses one of the largest collection of Japanese objects of high historical value in Switzerland, and has been holding large-scale annual Japan Festival in cooperation with the Embassy of Japan and the Japanese Association of Bern since 2019, providing Swiss people with opportunities to experience Japanese history and culture and contributing to the promotion of mutual understanding between the two countries.
  • Jugendaustausch CH - Japan
Since 1984, an exchange program for junior high school students has been conducted between the City of Osaka and the Canton of Basel-Landschaft. Jugendaustausch CH - Japan has been the Swiss counterpart of this exchange program, and over the years it has contributed greatly to the promotion of mutual understanding and the cultivation of an international awareness among the young people of Japan and Switzerland.
  • Ariana Museum - Swiss Museum of Ceramics and Glass
The Ariana Museum, located in Geneva, is dedicated to ceramics and glass. It houses a collection of over 800 Japanese ceramics from the 17th to the 20th centuries. The museum's founder, Gustave Revilliod, purchased the bell of the Honsen-ji temple in the Shinagawa district of Tokyo and installed it in the museum's park. This act led to the establishment of a friendship between the Shinagawa district and the City of Geneva, which continues to this day. The museum has organized a number of projects that introduce Japanese culture, which have contributed to promoting mutual understanding between the two countries.
  • Fondation Baur - Museum of Far Eastern Art
The Fondation Baur, located in Geneva, is one of the few museums in Switzerland that specializes in Asian art from the Far East. It was founded in 1964. The Fondation Baur houses the largest collection of Japanese art on display in Switzerland. It regularly organizes special exhibitions of Japanese art and collaborates with the Consulate of Japan to hold events that introduce Japanese culture. These projects have contributed to promoting mutual understanding between Japan and Switzerland, as well as promoting cultural projects.
  • Fondation Martin Bodmer
The Fondation Martin Bodmer, located in Cologny, in the Canton of Geneva, is a library and museum that specializes in books about world literature and human history. It was founded in 1971. Since 2015, the so-called “Biblioteca Bodmeriana” has been registered with the UNESCO Memory of the World programme, an initiative to protect the world’s documentary heritage. The permanent exhibition at the Fondation Bodmer features manuscripts of the Tale of Genji and the Taketori Monogatari, which have great historical value as Japanese art objects. The Fondation also conducts numerous projects to introduce Japanese culture each year, thereby promoting mutual understanding between the two countries and the dissemination of Japanese culture.
The Foreign Minister’s Commendations are awarded to individuals and groups with outstanding achievements in international fields, in order to acknowledge their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries and areas. The Commendations also aim to promote the understanding and support of the Japanese public for the activities of the recipients.
The Embassy of Japan in Switzerland and the Consulate of Japan in Geneva would like to express their sincere appreciation for the contributions and cooperation of the above-mentioned people and organizations and congratulate them on receiving the Foreign Minister's Commendation.