The Festival of Japanese Culture in Russia 2003 will begin in Saint Petersburg in April and is expected to last until March 2004. As a Rosbalt correspondent was informed by the international affairs committee of the city administration, the festival was proposed by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan last year. In January 2003 a Russian-Japanese Plan of Action was signed in Moscow, which anticipates greater cooperation between the two countries in the run-up to the festival.
All of the events are expected to take place in Saint Petersburg. The opening event will be held in the Botanic Gardens on April 20 when 1000 sakura flowers (cherry blossom) will be presented to the city. 200 of the flowers are expected to remain in the gardens while the other 800 will be distributed among 17 other parks and gardens around the city. There will also be concerts featuring Japanese musicians as well as classes on how to play Japanese musical instruments and finally a concert at the Shuvalovsky Palace featuring both Russian and Japanese musicians.