International Conference Dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of Lithuanian-Japanese Bilateral Relations

International Conference Dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of Lithuanian-Japanese Bilateral Relations

Sukurta: 21 February 2022

Dizainas be pavadinimo 2An international scientific conference to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Lithuanian-Japanese bilateral relations will be taking place at Vilnius University (VU) on Thursday, 24th of February.

2022 marks a significant anniversary of bilateral relations between Lithuania and Japan – the centenary of international relations between the two countries. The Faculty of History of VU invites the community and society to an international scientific conference commemorating this historical event.

The conference “National and International Attempt of Rescue World War II Jewish Refugees in Lithuania (1939–1941): Efforts by Lithuania, Poland, Japan, America, and Others” will be presented in 1939–1941 case studies, examining the links with current events. The presentations will be given by scientists from Israel, Japan, the USA, Poland, and Lithuania. Various interpretations of the history of Chiune Sugihara will be opened and their points of contact sought.

"Chiune Sugihara and his Visas for Life which saved many Jewish lives, are the symbols of the historical tie between Japan and Lithuania. It's very important to pass his legacy down the generations. In this regard, I'd like to express my gratitude and respects to those who are involved to organize this wonderful conference," says Tetsu Ozaki, Ambassador of Japan to Lithuania, who will attend at the opening of the conference.

The importance of the conference should be noted in two aspects, says Dainius Kamaitis, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Department of Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania.

"First, the need to discuss the past, the consequences of the crimes against humanity of the Nazi and Soviet occupation regimes in Lithuania and the world, in order to educate the younger generation in a spirit of humanism, tolerance, and respect for shared values and intolerance of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and racism.

Secondly, the desire to reveal to the international community the role of the Lithuanian state, which is little known in the context of the history of the Second World War. Despite the challenging geopolitical environment that encroached on Lithuania's sovereignty, the then Lithuanian government demonstrated its determination to effectively address the humanitarian crisis and promote social tolerance among foreigners by providing asylum and comprehensive support to more than thirty thousand war refugees," said D. Kamaitis.

Today, Lithuania and Japan cooperate in culture, science, studies, and other areas, and this year we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Lithuanian-Japanese bilateral relations. Some moments and heroes of this shared story have left an indelible impression on universal history. The real help provided by Lithuanians to War Refugees could become an impetus for the Japanese diplomat Ch. Sugihara issued thousands of transit visas to refugees. Today, in Japan, Ch. Sugihara is considered the most famous 20th-century personality.

Cooperation between Lithuania and Japan intensifies science and research innovation, especially life sciences and health care. The Ambassador for Special Assignments D. Kamaitis even singled out a few examples.

In 2017 a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the Ministry of Health and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development on joint research projects. As a result, it allowed diagnosing patients with rare and undiagnosed diseases in Lithuania using Japanese genetic data.

In addition, a letter of intent for the implementation of joint research projects was signed last April. Based on this, Lithuanian and Japanese researchers are invited to submit collaborative applications for projects in basic research covering rare and undiagnosed diseases, including oncological diseases.

In 2016 The Lithuanian Science Council and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science signed a memorandum on cooperation funding bilateral research. As a result, a space research project is now planned with the participation of representatives of the Lithuanian space sector and the Japan Research Agency.

Teltonika is working with automotive telematics projects with Japanese companies Toyota and Mitsubishi to help optimize commercial vehicle routes, reduce pollution and increase safety. According to the ambassador, it should be noted that Lithuanian lasers have been exported to Japan for more than 20 years, where they are mainly used in universities for fundamental physics and materials research.

In 2022, February 24, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the conference will occur at the Small Hall of Vilnius University (Universiteto str. 3, Vilnius, 2nd floor). The meeting will be held in English. The conference will also be broadcast live.

Watch the live broadcast of the conference here.

The conference program can be found here.

The VU Faculty of History organize the conference. Partners of the event: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, Embassy of Japan in Lithuania.

More information is available on the VU Faculty of History website or Facebook account.