"But today's delegation will bring more practical opportunities for future cooperation in different areas," Ni said, adding that the 200 members of the group are from different walks of life, with some being public servants, entrepreneurs, artists, teachers and university students.
The group also includes top athletes such as Athens 2004 women's table tennis gold medalist Wang Nan, 26-year-old pianist Li Yundi, and pop star Zhang Liangying.
Li Feng, a 23-year-old singer who released his album in March, is another member of the group. Li said he wanted to take this "great opportunity" - his first visit to Japan - to boost cultural ties with Japanese youth.
"I'm keen to perform Chinese folk music to young Japanese because I believe cultural exchanges such as singing together is a much better way to make people feel closer," he said.
(China Daily May 6, 2008)