Wednesday, January 11, 2006

When the going gets tough...Road Trip!!!

It must be budget compilation season.

Japan, China to exchange 2,000 students
The Yomiuri Shimbun

More than 2,000 high school students are to be mutually invited to visit Japan and China each year as part of efforts to improve bilateral relations, according to government sources.

The exchange program, which is part of mid- and long-term efforts to boost ties, aims to build a forward-looking relationship. Relations have soured over Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to war-related Yasukuni Shrine.

Officials of the Japanese and Chinese foreign ministries held a working-level meeting in late December in Beijing to discuss the plan, the sources said.

At the meeting, the Japanese side officially told their Chinese counterparts that Tokyo would put aside 10 billion yen in a new fund for the exchange program by February at the earliest, and would start accepting Chinese high schoolers in September.

In response, Beijing is to shortly start inviting about 1,000 Japanese high schoolers a year to China.

The Japanese side considers that about 1,100 Chinese students a year will be invited for short visits of 10 days or so; about 100 on middle-term stays of two to three months; and about 50 on long stays of a year.

The short stays will be handled by the Japan-China Friendship Center, with the others to be organized by the planned fund.

Gosh this sounds like a great idea...for the year 2035. Until then, these kids will not be in much of a position to influence the relationship between their two countries. In the meantime, wouldn't it be neat if their parents' generation could learn to get along, if only just a little?

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