A second delegation of 400 Chinese high school students Japan sets off for Japan today, beginning a 9-day tour as part of the China-Japan Friendly Exchange Year of Youth.
Double the size of the first youth delegation, the second group will continue to expand exchanges and communication between the youngsters of the two countries.
The goal of the youth exchange program is to let Chinese youngsters see the real Japan with their own eyes, said Hisashi Michigami, minister of the Japanese Embassy to China.
"Through the visit, young Chinese people will have direct contact with Japan and Japanese people. They will discover things about contemporary Japan which they might not have known," said Michigami at the send-off party held in Beijing on Monday.
Michigami hopes that such youth exchanges will help create a brighter future for the development of bilateral relations between China and Japan.
"Maybe some of the young people who are going on their first visit to Japan today will become national leaders of China in the future. If a Chinese leader develops an understanding of Japan from his teenage years, then I believe the two countries will build a more stable and stronger relationship in the future," Michigami said.
China and Japan have agreed to launch exchanges involving about 4,000 Chinese and Japanese youngsters each year in the next four years.
In March, a 1,000-member delegation of Japanese youth led by Japanese Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Osamu Uno visited China, which marked the start of the China-Japan Friendly Exchange Year of Youth.
On a reciprocal visit, a 200-member Chinese youth delegation made a weeklong trip to Japan early this month, accompanying President Hu Jintao's "warm spring" visit which concluded successfully last week. The delegation was the first of its kind sent by China under the 2008 China-Japan youth exchange program.
Departing today, the second Chinese youth delegation will first visit Tokyo and Kyoto, where they will participate in discussions on China-Japan relations. They will also attend classes with their Japanese peers and live with Japanese host families.
"For me, seeing is believing. To see a real Japan in person and to talk to young Japanese of my age is a better way for me to know a true Japan," said Fang Ruocheng, a second-year high school student of the Affiliated Middle School of Qinghai Normal University.
Fang said he hopes to have the opportunity to study at the Confucius Institute of Waseda University in Japan in the future.
"I want to share my knowledge about China and my hometown in Qinghai Province with young Japanese. We have a great Tibetan culture in Qinghai and I'd like to invite my Japanese friends to visit the famous Qinghai Lake some day," Fang said.
(China Daily May 13, 2008)