Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed this evening attended the Japan – Maldives Festival.

The annual cultural festival was organized by volunteers of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Alumni Society in the Maldives for the purpose of familiarizing Japanese culture to Maldivians. This was the fourth Japan – Maldives Festival.

Speaking as the guest of honour of the Festival, the Vice President said the relationship between the Maldives and Japan was not only based on providing foreign aid and cultural exchanges. He said, this relationship gave us the opportunity to learn from Japanese experience of developing a modern democracy where political parties co-exist and work towards the common benefit of people’s development.

The Vice President also thanked the Japanese government, JICA and JOCV for their services for the development of the Maldives.

Speaking on the International Human Rights Day, being marked today, Dr Waheed said the transition of the Maldives to a modern democracy represented a long struggle of Maldivians for basic human rights. He said today was an opportunity to reflect on further promoting these basic human rights and consolidating democracy in the Maldives.

JICA is an independent agency that coordinates Official Development Assistance for Japanese government which is chartered with assisting economic and social growth of developing countries. JICA has been in the Maldives since early 1970s.