2017 marks the 45th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic ties. In order to boost mutual understanding between people of China and Japan and promote the improvement of bilateral relations, from February 22 to 26, 2017, at the invitation of the Chinese Association for International Understanding (CAFIU), a five-member delegation composed of award-winners of the first essay contest on China-Japan friendship headed by Inoue Masayuki visited Beijing and Fujian of China.
This visit is one of the follow-up activities of the first essay contest on China-Japan friendship jointly staged by Japan-China Society and CAFIU. During their visit in China, centering around topics such as China-Japan relations, the Belt and Road Initiative and people-to-people exchanges between China and Japan, the award-winners participated in symposia, visit and exchange activities.
On the afternoon of February 22, Liu Hongcai, former Vice-Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee and Vice-President of CAFIU, met with members of the delegation. Liu Hongcai welcomed the five award-winners, introduced to them the work of CAFIU, as well as people-to-people friendly exchange activities between China and Japan, especially those participed by CAFIU. Liu Hongcai hoped that civil society of both countries could further strengthen cultural and youth exchanges, and encouraged the five award-winners to play their role of China-Japan friendship envoy.
On the same day, CAFIU Secretary-General Ni Jian presided over a forum and introduced the Belt and Road Initiative. Ni Jian pointed out that over the past three years, the Belt and Road Initiative grew out of nothing and developed comprehensively from specific areas, with its speed and achievements exceeding the expectation of people. The Belt and Road Initiative has facilitated the forming of broad consensus on international cooperation¡ªover 100 countries and international organizations have participated in the Initiative, more than 40 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation contracts with China and nearly 30 countries have launched international industrial capacity cooperation with China. The Belt and Road Initiative is not a closed system. Instead, it is an open and inclusive program. Although Japan is neither located along the route of Belt and Road, nor a member state of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. China and Japan should actively deal with cooperation related with Belt and Road Initiative, and join together to make contribution to the prosperity and development of both countries, the region as well as the whole world adhering to the Silk Road spirit of peaceful and win-win cooperation.
Wang Zhongyi, CAFIU council member and Chief Editor of People China magazine, showed a cartoon on spot to the attendants portraying a Chinese panda staying together with a Kumamoto bear, the mascot of Kumamoto, Japan. Wang Zhongyi explained, on October 14, 2016, the first day after the Kumamoto earthquake, ¡°People China¡± posted this cartoon on its WeChat Subscription. This cartoon was created by a young Chinese cartoonist. After that, a large sum of cartoons with the theme of pandas extending sympathy to Kumamoto bears emerged on the websites of Japan, signifying China encourages the people of Kumamoto to face the disaster bravely. A cartoon originated from the civil society could exert such great power. It tells us that people-to-people exchanges are heart-warming, which makes our neighbors feel the warmth from China.
Nishioka Shoji, Director General of China Bureau of The Mainichi said that, the 45th year since the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic ties was memorable and the follow-up activity of the essay contest was of great significance. It is such a pleasure that the five award-winners could visit China. The award-winners are expected to, based on their first-hand experience and careful observation, present an authentic, objective China to their friends, especially what is usually ignored by Japanese media.
In the forum, five award-winners introduced their personal experience, their relationship with China, the concepts of their essays, and exchanged with other guests of the forum centering around China-Japan friendship and other topics. Five award-winners are all making tangible contributions to China-Japan relations. Inoue Masayuki, born in the 1990s in Tokyo, is a staff-member of Tokyo campus of Beijing Language and Culture University in charge of recruiting eligible senior high school graduates. Kajihara Mika was once a volunteer of Beijing branch of UNESCO, who was in charge of contact and service job between donators and recipients from China and Japan in the Project Hope. Shibuya Junyan, Board Chair of House System Designing Stock Company, argued that many Japanese lacked understanding on the Belt and Road Initiative, and if this Initiative could bring some concrete achievements, Japan would then feel its impact and be willing to participate in this Initiative. Mitsuishi Yukiyo is a 20-year-old China-Japan half-blood who is currently studying in the United States. With her special identity, she has been playing the role of a bridge connecting China and Japan in her daily life. Itou Yohei, Board Chair of Community Building Stock Company has actively participated in the activities of Japan-China Friendship Association in Tokyo besides finishing his own job. He also proposed his own suggestion on China-Japan friendship named ¡°China-Japan Friendship 2.0¡±.
On February 23, the award-winners visited the Beijing headquarter of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. Zhao Xiaobin, Director of Beijing Office of Huawei, introduced the growth trajectory, market overview, business domain and cooperative partners of Huawei and described in detail the company¡¯s R & D investment and its participation in the Belt and Road Initiative. The Japanese friends said that their knowledge on Chinese high-tech enterprises like Huawei was inadequate and they expressed their wish to learn more about these companies and seek cooperation in the future. On the afternoon of February 23, the delegation visited Zhongguancun Inno Way, in an effort to learn about the undertaking policy of ¡°popular entrepreneurship and innovation¡±. Itou Yohei is currently starting his business in the area of senior citizen caring, and is very envious of supporting policy on entrepreneurship issued by the Chinese government. He believes that if he could enjoy similar policy in Japan, his entrepreneurship process would be much smoother. Award-winners also talked with residents of Huaqingyuan Community of Haidian District, Beijing, and experienced the daily life of ordinary Chinese citizens.
On February 24, the delegation visited the Great Hall of the People and attended a symposium at the Standing Committee of Chaoyang District People¡¯s Congress of Beijing, with the aim of learning about the democratic system of China and democracy operation at the grass-root level. During the discussion, four representatives of Chaoyang District People¡¯s Congress introduced to the delegation their process of being elected as well as their duty performance in terms of sloving practical problems for citizens. Kajihara Mika, who was married to a Chinese, said that although she had been living in Chaoyang District for 21 years, this was the first time for her to learn about the situation of her community and it was really a rare opportunity. The delegation also visited the Soil Temple Park¡ªa park opened to the public in 1923 for raising fund for Japanese victims of the Tokyo earthquake¡ªand learned about the people-to-people friendship during that particular historical period.
During their visit in Fujian Province, the delegation went to Quanzhou, an important port city of the Maritime Silk Road. In Quanzhou, they visited the Museum of Overseas Communications History, learned about the spreading and historical relics of Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, and directly experienced the unique atmosphere of diversified religions and culutres co-existed harmoniously. Award-winners said that it was the first time for them to thoroughly learn about the important status of Quanzhou in ancient Maritime Silk Road of China and they obtained a better understanding on the concepts of peaceful development and win-win cooperation conveyed by China via the Belt and Road Initiative.
This visit attracted the attention of a number of mainstream media such as China Radio International, China Youth Daily, xinhuanet.com, cctv.com, and China.org.cn which interviewed the delegation and covered this visit.