Chinese premier visits, encourages quake-hit Japan

10:07, May 22, 2011      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (C) poses for a photo with Chinese overseas at a gymnasium serving as a makeshift shelter in Fukushima, Japan, May 21, 2011. (Xinhua File Photo/Ding Lin)

As wind whispers and waves flow, 69-year-old Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao eyes the debris, silent, lips closed tight.

Wen, who put the first leg of his ongoing visit to Japan at the coastal town of Natori, has by now witnessed in person the aftermath of two of the 21st century's worst earthquakes -- one in his homeland in 2008, and the other this year in Japan.

In the island country for a summit with his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak slated for Sunday, Wen, in a black jacket and jogging shoes, toured Natori's port region Yuriage, which remains closed even to local survivors, shortly after landing in Japan Saturday afternoon.

Still on the land, boats lie hundreds of meters away from the sea; sedans and trucks crashed or buried in the mud; wooden and metal materials and furniture for homes, shops or any other vulnerable buildings scattered around, leaving some concrete schools and hospitals stand, lonely.

Once home to some 7,000 people in northeast of Japan's Honshu Island, Yuriage was nearly wiped out by roaring tsunami water triggered by a destructive 9.0-magnitude quake beneath the nearby Pacific seabed on March 11.

At the debris of the fishery association of Yuriage, close to the mouth of Natori River, Wen presented a bundle of flowers to mourn the death. But that was not his first expression of condolences.

Hours after the earthquake, the Chinese premier sent a message to his Japanese counterpart Kan to convey the Chinese government's deep condolences to the Japanese government and people, pledging necessary assistance.

Two days later, at a conference for the world press in the wake of a meeting of the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body, Wen said further help was ready as the Chinese rescue team and first batch of aid had arrived in the quake-hit region in Japan.

Besides a condolence message to Japanese Emperor Akihito, Chinese President Hu Jintao, on March 18, even went to the Japanese embassy in Beijing to show respect to the victims, as both the Chinese and the Japanese, by custom, mourn the departed on the seventh day.

"We hope the Japanese people could overcome difficulties and rebuild their homes at an early date," President Hu told the Japanese ambassador to China, Niwa Uichiro.
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Source: Xinhua
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