St Petersburg University has met a delegation from Saitama University, Japan, to identify areas of collaboration.

It is the first time when the delegation from the only state university in Saitama Prefecture in Japan has visited the oldest Russia’s university. Vice-President for International Relations of Saitama University Seiichiro Nakabayashi told about the university’s structure and history and how two universities can collaborate. Saitama University is now taking part in a competition geld by the Government of Japan for the leading universities in Japan. Six winners will be awarded grants to develop friendship relationship with Russian universities.

— The collaboration will cover academic exchange programmes and attract big companies from Russia and Japan, — said Mr Seiichiro Nakabayashi . — We know that St Petersburg University was the first university to teach Japanese. It was our duty to visit the University which is rich in history and traditions.

The last seven years have fueled a rise in our collaboration with the universities in Japan, said Deputy Rector for International Affairs Sergei Andrushin.

— Today Japan is our key partner in Asia and worldwide. SPbU has signed agreements with the top Japan’s universities, among them are University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Hokkaido University, and big corporations: Mitsui, Shimadzu and others, — said Sergei Andrushin.

SPbU, as a classical university, is interested in developing collaboration in various spheres, said Sergei Andrushin.

— Just as collaboration in culture and linguistics is vital, so cooperation in mathematics, chemistry and physics will be absolutely necessary. It will enable all capacities of two universities, — said Deputy Rector for International Affairs.

At the end of the meeting the parties agreed to create a working group to discuss the cooperation issues. The group will be led by Prof Nonaka from Saitama University who has been actively cooperating with scholars in Japanese studies at SPbU and studying Russian literature. Vice President Seiichiro Nakabayashi, whose research scope is chemistry, is to supervise the work of natural sciences group.