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Former Japanese Minister to China: Mr. Keiji Ide
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I was a first-grade primary school student when Tokyo held the Games in 1964 but I can still recall some TV programs about the Games...the Japanese economy experienced rapid development at that time. The Tokyo Games and the newly-built Shinkansen Line both embodied Japan's economic take-off. We all know that South Korea also held the Olympic Games.

Being a host to the Games seems to reflect a nation's economic development and overall national power. Therefore, the Beijing Games is important to China's economic development. I am looking forward to the Games very much. Actually, a lot of Japanese people living in Beijing are paying attention to the preparation work. Recently, we invited the BOCOG officials to give a presentation to the Japanese people. Some Japanese media and tour services were also present. As far as I know, they all praised this kind of presentation. More Japanese people will come to China for the Games. The Japanese embassy will do our best to arrange for their comfort, especially regarding hotels and traveling. One thing I want to emphasize is that the Olympic Games represents more than competitions among athletes with an audience. It also provides international communication opportunities between societies. Some international exchange programs for primary schools exist in Beijing, such as Heart to Heart. Some of the schools have contacted us and started exchanges with the Japanese side.

( April 5, 2007)

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