Twenty-three Japanese universities and language schools will take part in the international education conference and exhibition to get under way April 17-20 at the Riyadh International Exhibition Center under the auspices of the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education. “The participation of 16 Japanese universities and seven language schools will give them the opportunity to show the high-quality of education provided to students in Japan,” Yukiko Constantinescu, cultural section head from the Japanese Embassy, told Arab News yesterday. She added that it would also give them a first-hand glimpse of Saudi culture so they could understand better the 480 Saudi students currently in Japan taking up different courses in various universities there. “They are pursuing courses in engineering and business which Japanese universities are strong in, but some are taking up Master\'s and doctorate degrees,” Constantinescu said. She clarified that under the King Abdullah Scholarship Program, Saudi students study the Japanese language before taking up a BA degree but others studying on their own or under scholarship from the Japanese government are not required to. The 18 universities include the Kyoto University, Matsumoto Dental University, Nagoya University, Nagoya University of Commerce & Business, Nippon Institute of Technology, Okayama University, Osaka Institute of Technology, Osaka University, Shibaura Institute of Technology, Takushoku University, The University of Tokyo, Tohoku University, Tokai University, Tokyo International University, Tokyo University of Technology and Waseda University. The seven Japanese language schools comprise Edo Cultural Center, Ehle Institute, Kokusho Japanese Language School, Osaka Japanese Language Education Center, Sendagaya Japanese Institute, Shinjuku Japanese Language Institute, and Urawa International Education Center. Constantinescu said each of these universities and Japanese language institutes would have three to four representatives who will obtain a closer glimpse of Saudi Arabia. “Participation in the education exhibition will also be a good opportunity to know more about Saudi Arabia. Many Japanese don\'t have much knowledge about Saudi Arabia. They think the Kingdom is known only as a leading oil producer and exporter which is quite the contrary. There\'s much to know about the Kingdom,” Constantinescu said. She also mentioned their participation will also strengthen further existing bilateral ties. “The bilateral ties binding the two countries have been excellent as could be gleaned from the visits of Japanese officials to Saudi Arabia and Saudi dignitaries to Japan,” she said. She said Minister of Economy and Planning Mohamed Al-Jasser, Minister of Commerce and Industry Tawfiq Al-Rabiah and Dr. Hashim Yamani, president of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, visited Japan to participate in the Japanese-Saudi Business Economic Forum last February. On the other hand, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba paid a visit to the Kingdom last January, she added. Constantinescu said bilateral trade volume between the two countries touched SR165 billion. Japan imported SR135 billion worth of oil and oil products from the Kingdom while its exports, mainly automobiles and mechanical equipment, crossed SR30 billion.