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Opening Ceremony of the Japan-China Youth Friendship Exchange Year

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Opening Ceremony of the Japan-China Youth Friendship Exchange Year
Dinner Hosted by Prime Minister Fukuda
President Hu and Prime Minister Fukuda Enjoy Talks with Young People from Japan and China

Click photographs to enlarge

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda attended a special speech by President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China, as well as the opening ceremony of the Japan-China Youth Friendship Exchange Year, both held at Waseda University. The Japan-China Youth Friendship Exchange Year is designed to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Japan-China Peace and Friendship Treaty and to further promote youth exchanges between the two countries.

In his address at the start of the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Fukuda said, "Yesterday, I discussed open-heartedly with President Hu about the future of the Japan-China relationship. President Hu and I have agreed to strengthen the mutual understanding and trust between our two peoples, especially the youth. For the next four years starting from this year, Japan and China will exchange some 4,000 young people each year. I sincerely hope that our personal ties will further be enhanced by various youth exchange programs to be held in both countries, with this opening ceremony serving as the starter."

In the exchange activities with youths from Japan and China held as part of the Opening Ceremony, Prime Minister Fukuda enjoyed interaction with young people and watching table tennis games between President Hu and two top players, Ms. Ai Fukuhara and Ms. Wang Nan. After the exchange activities, Prime Minister Fukuda said, "I believe this visit by President Hu will mark the creation of a new era of the Japan-China relationship. Today, I interacted with young people, for whom the development of the Japan-China relationship will be very important as they grow to create their own era. I earnestly hope that they will do their best."

In the evening Prime Minister Fukuda hosted a dinner for President Hu and his wife, Mrs. Liu Yongqing, inviting officials and related people from both countries. The Prime Minister said to the guests, "A Chinese proverb says, 'Grow trees to prosper for a decade; develop human resources to prosper for a century.' To keep up such long-term efforts is crucial in building a stable Japan-China relationship into the future. We, as the leaders of the two countries, are also responsible for continuing such efforts."

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