A group of over 200 Chinese high school students were welcomed Wednesday in Tokyo by Japanese government officials and friendship organizations, before they begin a week-long exchange tour in Japan.
Akie Abe, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hoped the teenagers can freely exchange ideas with the Japanese high school students during the tour and "find ways to solve problems when they could not understand each other well."
Tokyo and Beijing have arranged several batches of high school students to visit each other based on their youth exchange program started last year. With this group included, some 1,100 Chinese students have visited Japan and about 200 Japanese students have come to China for exchange tours.
Japan-China Friendship Center chairman Yoshiro Hayashi said that this batch of students came at a meaningful time, "at the 35th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-China diplomatic relations." He hoped they can make friends with Japanese students.
"I learned about Japan from animations and some Japanese songs," said Fu Shu, a high school student from Jilin Province. "I will bring back my experience and feelings during the tour to Japan and I also want to invite young Japanese people to China, to feel our culture and hospitality."
Masakazu Sekiguchi, vice minister for foreign affairs from the Japanese Foreign Ministry, said that Japan is mulling to enlarge youth exchange plans from next year. "We are planning to invite some 6,000 young people from East Asian countries to Japan every year," he said, "most of them would be high school students. And we expect to have more Chinese young visitors."
"It is a valuable chance for the students," Kong Xuanyou, Minister-Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Japan said, expressing the hope that the exchanges can boost understandings and friendship.
The high school students, from various parts of China including Beijing, Tianjin, Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Guangxi, Yunnan, Jilin, Anhui and Hainan, arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday. They are scheduled to visit different parts of Japan such as Ishikawa, Fukui, Tochigi, Nagasaki, Toyama prefectures and stay with common Japanese families.
(Xinhua News Agency March 15, 2007)