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Sino-Japanese Year of Cultural, Sports Exchange Opens in Beijing
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China and Japan opened the "year of cultural and sports exchanges" activities in Beijing on Monday to mark the 35th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations.

The Japanese will organize a series of activities in China during the following week, including a vocal concert hosted in Beijing involving Chinese and Japanese pop music stars, a Japanese film festival, as well as the touring of a Japanese band and a Japanese drama around China.

Activities organized by the Chinese in Japan will start in mid-April in Tokyo.

At a reception held by the Japanese embassy in Beijing, Asano Katsuhito, Japan's senior vice-minister of foreign affairs, said Japan hopes to introduce itself to the Chinese people through these activities, in a bid to strengthen mutual understanding.

Meng Xiaosi, vice-minister of culture of China, said China also attaches great importance to the exchange and will hold nearly a hundred activities over the next year.

The year of cultural and sports exchanges between China and Japan will positively contribute to the communication and friendship of the two peoples, she added.

The logo of the activities was issued at the reception, and is in the shape of a heart formed by the two letters "C" and "J," to accompany the slogan, "expectation of heart, a new future."

Some 200 Chinese and Japanese people from all walks of life attended the Beijing reception.

China and Japan have taken many actions to further improve their ties since Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's visit to China last October, and the "year of cultural and sports exchanges" was set by Chinese and Japanese leaders during Abe's visit.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is scheduled to visit Japan in April.

(Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2007)

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