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Premier Wen's 'Ice-Melting Visit' Will Be a Success
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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's "ice-melting" official visit to Japan will be successful and will clear the way for regular contacts between Japanese and Chinese leaders in the future, the Japan-China Friendship Association (JCFA) President Kyuhei Murakoka told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Murakoka is full of expectation for the Chinese premier's upcoming tour, which will be from April 11 to 14, the golden season of Japan's cherry blossom. He described the visit as "significantly meaningful" and believed it will lead communications between leaders from the two countries back into the right track.

The Japan-China Friendship Association will cosponsor a grand welcome party in Tokyo for Premier Wen with the other seven Japan-China friendship bodies as well as four groups of Japan-based Chinese people, Murakoka said.

Talking about the bilateral political ties, which went through deterioration in the past five-years or so due to former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to the war-related Yasukuni shrine, Murakoka said that the Japanese side is wholly responsible for the displeasure, so Japan's new government should do more to "break the hard ice."

As other friendly Japanese people who hope to see a better relationship with China, Murakoka was happy to see that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to visit China first after taking office last September and reached consensus with Chinese leaders on the construction of a mutually-beneficial strategic relationship during his "ice-breaking tour."

Abe's "ice-breaking tour" and Wen's corresponding "ice-melting visit" will create a favorable political atmosphere for the improvement of bilateral ties, Murakoka said, adding that Japan's friendship bodies, including the JCFA, will make efforts to further strengthen the positive momentum from inside the civilian circle.

Murakoka pointed out that some negative factors, such as the unresolved Yasukuni issue and the alienation between the two people, still may hinder the fluent development of the bilateral relationship.

"The JCFA will also make efforts to play an active role to reduce or even remove all the worrisome factors posing danger to the bilateral ties," he said.

He showed enthusiasm on talking about a variety of exchange activities during the 2007 Japan-China Culture and Sports Exchange Year, which is considered by Murakoka as a nice opportunity for the two peoples to deepen mutual understanding.

On the prospects of the Japan-China relationship, Murakoka said it's natural that frictions may appear between different countries, however, no difficulties are unconquerable as long as negotiation and dialogue are conducted based on mutual trust.

"Mutual understanding and mutual trust between the two governments are the cornerstone of sound ties, and communication between leaders is the most critical aspect of bilateral exchanges," he said.

"A healthy relationship between Japan and China will not only benefit the two countries, but also advantage their Asian neighbors," said Murakoka.

(Xinhua News Agency April 9, 2007)

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