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Students anxious to hear Fukuda speech
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08:28, December 28, 2007

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Students of Peking University are eagerly anticipating today's scheduled speech by Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda despite it being in the middle of their preparation for exams.

"The speech has become a hot topic recently on our university's BBS (bulletin board system) and students are very interested in Fukuda's visit, the future of China-Japan relations and how to secure a ticket," a faculty member of the university told China Daily.

The audience will be "bigger than usual," with more than 400 students, in addition to teachers, reporters and a Japanese delegation of more than 100 members, according to the faculty member.

Yoshikazu Kato, a final-year Japanese student majoring in international relations at the university, said it was "very rare" for Japanese prime ministers to give such speeches during foreign visits, because "they are usually more serious than European and US politicians".

"Fukuda is among the few Japanese prime ministers who truly attach great importance to relations with China," said Kato. "You know, in Japan, people are mainly concerned about domestic affairs, and so are the political leaders. So I think Fukuda's ongoing visit is of special significance and hope it can benefit China-Japan relations."

Having acquired a ticket from the Japanese embassy, Kato hopes to raise two questions with the prime minister. One is the reason why he left the petroleum industry for politics and the other is how to properly handle relations between Tokyo, Beijing and Washington.

Cao Xiaoming, a graduate student majoring in journalism at the university, said she was very lucky to get a ticket from an administrative department in which she works at the university.

"At Peking University, we usually have wide access to speeches given by visiting foreign leaders. But Fukuda's lecture seems to raise more concern, and I think it is because of high expectations Chinese have on bilateral relations," said Cao.

Japan's Kyodo News has reported that Fukuda may call for establishing a "creative cooperative partnership" between China and Japan in his speech.

CCTV will broadcast the speech live nationwide.

Fukuda is the second incumbent Japanese prime minister to deliver a public speech in China.

The first was made by one of his predecessors, Ryutaro Hashimoto, a decade ago at the National School of Administration in Beijing.

Source: China Daily

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