SGI President Awarded Russian Federation Order of Friendship

    TOKYO, Feb. 18 /CNW/ - At a ceremony at the Russian Embassy in Tokyo, Mr.
Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Soka Gakkai International Buddhist
association, was today conferred with the Order of Friendship on behalf of the
Russian Federation by Ambassador Mikhail M. Bely.
    Presenting the award in recognition of Mr. Ikeda's wide-ranging
contributions to the development of Russo-Japanese relations and bilateral
exchange for over 30 years, Ambassador Bely paid tribute to his efforts to
strengthen people-to-people ties through cultural exchange, and his deep
understanding of different philosophies and cultures.
    In response, Mr. Ikeda determined to devote further energy to broadening
and deepening exchanges of culture and education with Russia, focusing
especially on youth.
    On his first visit to the then Soviet Union in 1974, Mr. Ikeda was
criticized for visiting a communist country. On that occasion he met premier
Aleksey Kosygin to discuss prospects for peace at a time of great global
    Mr. Ikeda has visited the former USSR and Russia six times to meet and
hold dialogues with leaders and cultural figures. He has promoted extensive
educational and cultural exchanges through institutions he founded, including
Soka University, the Institute of Oriental Philosophy, the Min-On Concert
Association and the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum. He also promoted the showing in
Russia of exhibitions devoted to peace such as "Nuclear Arms: Threat to Our
World," hosted in Moscow in 1987.
    Over one million people have been exposed to Russian culture through
tours by over 40 dance and music groups invited to Japan by the Min-On Concert
Association from 1966 onwards. Since Soka University Japan signed an exchange
agreement with Moscow State University in 1975, over 500 students have
participated in the two-way exchange.
    An exhibition of 100 artworks from the State Russian Museum is currently
showing at the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum in Hachioji.
    The awarding of the Order of Friendship, recognizing those credited with
strengthening friendship and cooperation with the Russian Federation in the
areas of science, culture, economics and peace, was announced in a
presidential decree of Russian President Vladimir Putin on January 9. Mr.
Ikeda was nominated by former president Mikhail Gorbachev, Moscow State
University Rector Dr. Victor Sadovnichy, former Russian cosmonaut Dr.
Aleksander Serebrov and author Chingiz Aitmatov.

For further information:

For further information: Joan Anderson, Office of Public Information,
Soka Gakkai International, Tel: +81-3-5360-9482, Fax: +81-3-5360-9885, URL:

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