After visits to Shanghai and Northwest China's Gansu Province, the
Japan-China friendship delegation will today arrive in Beijing for the final leg
of a weeklong friendship tour .
The 220-member group, led by former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro
Nakasone, mostly comprises people, or their delegates, who took part in the
largest-ever Japan-China youth gathering in 1984, as well as representatives
from several Japanese friendship organizations.
The group arrived in Shanghai on Thursday, where many of them marveled at the
dramatic changes the city has experienced since they were last there 23 years
Some 3,000 young Japanese visited China in the autumn of 1984, making it the
largest foreign group the country had received since 1949. They met with about 1
million Chinese youths from all walks of life to celebrate the 12th anniversary
of the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations.
The event was described as unprecedented in the history of China-Japan
friendship and was highly regarded in both countries.
Before this year's delegation left for Gansu on Saturday, many of the older
members paid a special visit to Luxun Park, the site of the 1984 gathering,
where a clock was erected to commemorate the event.
"Although I haven't seen it for 23 years, I was still very excited. The park
has changed a lot, but at the first sight of the clock, memories of those
heartwarming days came flooding back to me," a delegation member was quoted by
Shanghai Youth as saying.
During their three-day stay in Shanghai, the delegation visited the Shanghai
Stock Exchange and Bao Steel Co Ltd, a heavyweight in the industry.
They also visited an agricultural and gardening area, and called in on some
local families to engage in cultural activities such as diabolo, calligraphy and
Their Shanghai stay was further enriched by trips to the city's bar
association, media organizations, a university, the TV tower and several
For the second leg of their tour, the group went to Lanzhou, the provincial
capital of Gansu.
After being divided into 10 groups, the delegation explored the province to
find out about its economic, social, political and cultural facets.
Hosted by the China Federation of Youth, the group will end its tour on
The trip forms part of the activities being held to celebrate the 2007
China-Japan Culture and Sports Year and the 35th anniversary of the
normalization of Sino-Japanese relations.
After years of strained relations between the two countries, the situation
was improved after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited China in October
2006. Relations were further warmed following Wen Jiabao's trip to Japan earlier
(China Daily 06/18/2007 page3)