JULIA Baird, John Lennon’s sister, is this week leading a delegation of key partners from Liverpool’s culture and tourism sector as they embark on a trip to Tokyo in a bid to help strengthen the city’s links with Asia. Julia and delegates from The Beatles Story, The Cavern and Marketing Liverpool flew out on a Turkish Airlines flight from Manchester Airport to Tokyo. Once they arrive, the group will take part in a week-long campaign to promote Liverpool to Japanese tourists. The trip coincides with the 50th anniversary since The Beatles’ famous tour of Japan. Julia said: “John often spoke fondly about his time in Japan, it always had a special place in his heart. He had a great affinity with the people and places, it almost became a second home. “Nowhere is that more evident than in his music.” On John Lennon’s 1973 album “Mind Games”, the love song “You are Here” opens with the line “From Liverpool to Tokyo, what a way to go.” Chris Brown, director at Marketing Liverpool, commented: “This is an incredible platform to promote Liverpool as a tourist destination to the Japanese market and strengthen our already existing links with Asia. “It is part of a series of events that the city is doing both internationally and domestically but we could not have undertaken this opportunity without the support of Visit Britain, the GREAT campaign, Turkish Airlines and our Beatles industry partners.” Martin King, director at the Beatles Story, said: “The Beatles embraced Asian culture to its full capacity. Their visit to Tokyo almost half a century ago had a lasting impact, both on Japan and the boys alike. “The Beatles’ later years as well as solo careers would go on to be influenced by Japanese heritage and culture. John Lennon himself went on to marry Yoko Ono with Tokyo becoming their spiritual home. “It is fantastic to get this opportunity, 50 years on, to bring a slice of Liverpool to a place where Beatlemania has never really ended.” Next week, Japanese tribute act ‘One After 909’ will perform at Liverpool’s world famous Cavern Club on Thursday 30th June and Friday 1st July. During their visit to Liverpool, the Japanese ‘Fab Four’ will visit The Beatles Story before heading off for an official welcome from the city’s Lord Mayor. The band, who are being hosted by The Hard Days Night Hotel, will perform at Liverpool’s historic UNESCO waterfront before heading to The Cavern Club for their much anticipated performance. Selim Ecirli, Turkish Airlines General Manager for Manchester, said: “Turkish Airlines is delighted to support this initiative. As the carrier that flies to more countries than any other, we are keen to attract more visitors to the region. With daily flights to Tokyo and Osaka with good connections from Manchester, Turkish Airlines can strongly support enhancing visitor numbers to north west England.” Tomoko Hisaki from Visit Britain in Tokyo added: “This significant anniversary of The Beatles visiting Japan provides a great opportunity to promote Liverpool as a tourist destination. “Being able to trace the band’s journey from four young lads to becoming the most influential band in the world will have real appeal to the Japanese market.” During her trip to Japan, Julia Baird will attend an event with the British Embassy in Tokyo, where she will be available for a Q&A session with VIP guests.