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Chinese, Japanese Youth Conclude Year-long Exchange Program

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A total of 2,008 young people from China and Japan on Saturday concluded a year-long youth exchange program between the two countries.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and former Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo joined the youth at the closing ceremony in Beijing University of Aeronautics and Aerospace.

In their half-hour meeting before the ceremony, Wen and Fukuda, who decided on this program during their talks in Singapore last year, hailed the exchange program "reached its expected aims."

The program coincided with the 30th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Peace and Friendship Treaty, which Wen said "made the exchange activities more significant."

Under the program, more than 12,000 youth from China or Japan paid visits to the other country since the program was launched in March in Beijing.

"Hopefully the young generation of the two countries will keep the old memories, cherish the current days and create a bright future," Wen said, calling for youth to carry forward China-Japan friendship.

Fukuda said Japan-China was founded on the deeper mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

"The exchange program is a great success and will help boost the youth interaction," Fukuda said.

As a finale of the program, a 1,000-member Japanese delegation were paying week-long visit to China. Among the delegations were Japanese youth from various walks of life, including parliamentarians, government officials, businessmen and journalists.

(Xinhua News Agency December 21, 2008)