With its many remnants of World War-II, North East India, especially Manipur and Nagaland, is an important part of the reconciliation process between Japan and Britain, Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu has said.
He made these comments during a special screening of “Memories of a Forgotten War”, a feature-length documentary directed by Utpal Borpujari and produced by Subimal Bhattacharjee.
Hiramatsu, who is a keen advocate of the reconciliation process for several decades now, has visited Manipur, Nagaland and Assam in the recent past and is planning to visit Manipur again to participate in the annual World War-II commemoration programme in the state in May.
The screening on March 24 evening was hosted by Hiramatsu at his official residence for the senior officials of his embassy as well as representatives of a few Japanese organisations, including Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Information Centre, a release issued the director of the film said.
Hiramatsu also stressed on the efforts to collect the bones of dead Japanese soldiers from various parts of the region. He said it would be a ongoing process aimed at enabling the soldier's families and the people of Japan to pay their last respects to those who laid down their lives for the nation.
He appreciated the unbiased and humanitarian approach of the film, which had its world premiere as part of the Indian Panorama at the 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa last year.
Addressing the gathering, Bhattacharjee said the film was an effort to bring out a positive aspect of the North East and tells an important historical narrative of the region that is often projected in a negative way in the rest of the country.
Borpujari said the film was part of his continuing efforts to bring out untold stories from the North East through the medium of cinema.
Among those present at the screening were senior Embassy officials such as Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission Yukata Kikuta, Minister (Political Affairs) Hideki Asari, First Secretary Kenji Aya, First Secretary Daisuke Kodama, Deputy Head (Political Section) Shunichi Inoue, Japan Information Centre director Mizuho Hayakawa, JICA senior representative Takayoshi Tange and representative Yoshiki Ehara.
Also present at the screening was tbe film's executive producer Joyeeta Bhattacharjee, the release said.