KUALA LUMPUR (The Star/ANN) - Japan's Crown Prince encourages exchange of scholars between Malaysia and Japan.
Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito encouraged the exchange of scholars between Malaysia and Japan during his visit to Universiti Malaya (UM) Friday.
He hoped that his visit to UM would develop into an opportunity to promote the long-lasting bond between the two nations, which are celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties this year.
"It is our fervent hope that the exchange of scholars will be encouraged. Researchers and students will reinvigorate scholastic advancement," he said.
Prince Naruhito noted that while only 39 students from UM went to Japan in 1984, the current number of UM students pursuing higher education in the country has expanded to some 4,000 students.
He added that as many as 16,000 talented Malaysian youths were sent to Japan as students and trainees.
"These Malaysians formed friendships in Japan, and have played a vital role in the development of Malaysia upon their return.
"This is very encouraging and it has convinced me that they will greatly contribute to the advancement of mutual understanding and friendship between our two countries," he said.
Prince Naruhito said the number of Japanese who chose Malaysia as a destination for education is also " increasing immensely".
"As many as 1,600 Japanese studied in Malaysia in 2014.
"I am convinced that these students will not only devote their efforts to their study, but they can learn a lot from the diversified society of Malaysia, where various ethnic groups with different cultures and religions live together in harmony," he said.
In conjunction with his visit to UM, Prince Naruhito planted a tree at the site where his father Emperor Akihito planted a commemorative tree when he was Crown Prince in 1970.
The tree is a local plant, Syzygium antisepticum, or commonly known as Gelam Tikus, a species cultivated in UM's botanical garden specifically for biodiversity conservation.
Prince Naruhito also met 20 alumni members from Japan during the visit.
Present were UM Chancellor Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah and vice-chancellor Prof Tan Sri Dr Mohd Amin Jalaludin.