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Culture a Bridge for the Souls, Says Premier
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The opening ceremony of "The Evening of Chinese Literature" at the National Theater in Tokyo just floored Miyauchi Atsushi last night.



The handsome young reporter with Japan's NHK said he had never seen a better show on or by China.


"The program presented us with the vast cultural diversity of China and was the best China-show I've ever seen," Atsushi said.


Atsushi watched with rapt attention the performances by prominent musicians and dancers from China's ethnic minorities, with Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, too, being among the audience.


Atsushi said there will be many more such occasions during rest of the year for ordinary Japanese people to enjoy China's cultural presentations. Last night's program was presented by China as part of the China-Japan Cultural and Sports Exchange Year.


The opening ceremony for Japan's programs was held in Beijing last month.


Last night, the various Chinese troupes brought the evening to life with their excellent performances, with the exchange year's "C-J" logo, representing China and Japan, providing a perfect background setting. The logo has been designed to resemble a heart and match the theme slogan "expectation of the heart, a new future."


Wen said the exchange year is an important event in a series of activities marking the 35th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between China and Japan.


The premier hoped the Japanese audience could feel the Chinese people's sentiments towards them while watching the show.


He expects the two countries to introduce the lives of their peoples to one another through such activities in order to deepen mutual understanding.


Wen, who attaches great importance to people-to-people exchanges, talked to ordinary Japanese people while jogging in a Tokyo park on Wednesday and Thursday morning.


"If economic cooperation generates tangible interests among the people of two countries, cultural exchanges are the bridge of the souls," Wen said, before the opening ceremony.


Prime Minister Abe, who was with Premier Wen for the fourth time during the day, could not agree with him more. It's important to first understand the culture of a country if one wants to understand it in its totality, Abe said.


Japanese ping-pong sensation Ai Fukuhara and actress Noriko Sakai have been appointed goodwill ambassadors of the Cultural and Sports Exchange Year.


China and Japan have taken many measures to further improve their ties since Abe's visit to China last October, with the Cultural and Sports Exchange Year being decided on by Chinese and Japanese leaders then.


(China Daily April 13, 2007)

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