China-Japan friendship is in the hands of their young people

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Beijing Review, June 27, 2019
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When Daichi Nakashima wrote a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of the Group of 20 Summit in Osaka, expressing his wish to contribute to the China-Japan friendship, the Japanese youth hadn't really expected a reply.

So when he received a letter from Xi, he was overjoyed. The letter said the friendship between the two countries was rooted in their people and the future of the friendship was in the hands of the young people. It also said the two countries are counting on their young generation for a bright future and friendship, something that Nakashima said touched him greatly. The letter, Nakashima said, has made him determined to participate in more exchange activities in the future and contribute to the understanding of the younger generation.

"I am deeply grateful to President Xi for giving me a reply despite his busy schedule," the prize-winner in the Panda Cup Japan Youth Essay Contest told People's Daily.

Nakashima had studied Chinese in college, specializing Chinese literature. He also participated in Chinese-Japanese exchange activities frequently. He said the kindness of the Chinese he met strengthened his drive to learn more about China. "Chinese culture has led me to a brand new world," he said.

The Panda Cup Japan Youth Essay Contest is an annual contest hosted by People's China, the Japanese Science Society (JSS) and the Chinese Embassy in Japan since 2014 to deepen Japanese youths' understanding of China. The winners travel to China to interact with Chinese.

Chen Wenge, president of People's China, a Japanese-language monthly magazine published by the China International Publishing Group, said Xi's letter has given encouragement not just to Nakashima but also to the contest. "It will encourage more young Japanese like Nakashima to be committed to the Chinese-Japanese youth exchange and China-Japan friendship promotion," Chen said.

Mieko Oshima , president of the JSS, said it was amazing that the Chinese president patiently went through the ideas of an ordinary young man in Japan and sent him a letter of encouragement. We want more Japanese young people to learn Chinese and understand China, take part in activities to advance the friendship between China and Japan and strengthen bilateral relations, Oshima said.

Kohei Sato, who heads a Japanese startup and studied in China, said a nation's youth is its future. The ties between the two countries can be strengthened by increasing exchanges between the youths of the two countries and enhancing mutual understanding so that they face common challenges together.

Kazuki Nakayama, a Japanese journalist who had attended China-Japan exchange activities as a college student, said Xi's letter will encourage all young people involved in China-Japan exchanges. It was a reminder that youth and non-governmental exchanges play a crucial role in promoting bilateral relations.

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