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Japanese Honored for Forestation
Six Japanese and four Japan-based civilian organizations were honored in Beijing Sunday for their outstanding performance in boosting Japan-China cooperation in environmental cooperation.

The International Cooperation Award for Saving the Mother River and its Special Award were issued by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Youth League (CCYL) and the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF) at the opening ceremony of a China-Japan Youth Environmental Protection Cooperation Forum.

The awardees include Chizuko Obuchi and Yuko Obuchi, wife and daughter of late Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, Hiromu Nonaka and Makoto Koga, both former secretaries-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, acting secretary-general of the Komei Party Akihiro 0ota, secretary-general of the New Conservative Party Toshihiro Nikai, the Japan-China Friendship Association, the Japan Seinendan Council, the Japan Junior Chamber Corporation and the Tokyo Junior Chamber of Trade.

All the individuals and groups have been thanked by the CCYL Central Committee and ACYF for helping China better use the 10 billion-yen fund initiated by Keizo Obuchi in July 1999 for the two countries' civilian exchanges in forestation.

Most of the money has been channeled into the Save the Mother River Project launched by the CCYL Central Committee in early 1999 aiming to improve the environment of the Yellow River.

Fourteen ecological forestation sub-projects have been established in 11 local areas the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Liaoning and Jiangxi province.

As a result, some 3,420 hectares of green areas were created at a cost of 276.4 million yen since 2000.  

All these projects have passed the inspection by Japanese experts and officials from the Ministry of Forestry with the survival rate of seedlings above 85 percent.

The ecology of north China's deserts and that of the huge valleys of the Yangtze River, the Yellow River and the Zhujiang River are already benefiting from the projects.

Hiromu Nonaka told the forum that forestation transcended national borders and the cooperation of young people in environmental protection has offered a valuable chance to increase their mutual understanding.

"The CCYL Central Committee is a reliable, clean organization with vision, therefore, such cooperation should be kept up," he said.

Toshihiro Nikai said, "As some Chinese friends will fly to Japan next month for further exchanges, we have planned to hold a red-carpet welcome banquet for them."

He added, "A large-scale forestation program will be launched on September 22 near the Great Wall where a Japanese party will be organized to plant trees."

Over 400 guests and young volunteers from both China and Japan attended the opening ceremony of the two-day forum.

On Monday delegates will contribute to a broad discussion of their experiences in technical development, allocation of resources and the efficiency of capital utilization.

(Xinhua News Agency April 14, 2002)

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