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Food and music boost China-Japan ties

By Cai Hong in Tokyo (China Daily)

08:33, July 03, 2012

Wang Chen (left), minister of the State Council Information Office, and Charlie Lee, director of Lee Kum Kee Co Ltd, show a calligraphy work donated to the Experience China event by Lu Yongliang, a Chinese master chef, in Tokyo on Monday. Xu Jingxing / China Daily

An old idiom states that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach — and perhaps food could also help the bond between countries.

Delicious food and a piano recital by the highly acclaimed Chinese pianist Yundi Li opened the Experience China event in Japan on Monday, aiming to bring the two countries closer together.

Organized by China's State Council Information Office, the event runs until July 13.

It will include a photo exhibition, a ceremony to present Chinese books to Tokyo's Soka University, a fashion show, and the eighth Beijing-Tokyo Forum, which finishes on Tuesday.

A group of Chinese journalists are also visiting Japan to gain a better understanding of the island country.

"The event is expected to serve as a window through which Japanese people can see a whole picture of China that is separated from their country only by a narrow strip of water," Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, said at the event's opening ceremony.

"I hope that the event will help build the bridge to enhance the good feelings and mutual understanding between the two peoples," Wang said.

Wang said the event would help Japanese people understand China's desire to seek cooperation, peace and development.

The event is one of the 433 programs China and Japan are scheduled to hold this year to commemorate the 40th anniversary of normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries, said Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, Japan's parliamentary senior vice-minister for foreign affairs.

"The number is much bigger than that for commemorating the 35th anniversary," Yamaguchi said.

Seiichi Kondo, commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan, said China and Japan can learn from each other thanks to friendly exchanges for thousands of years, despite the setbacks in the 19th and 20th centuries.

As the world's second and third-largest economies, China and Japan can achieve greater progress if they cooperate, Kondo said.

Since 1999, the State Council Information Office has launched the Experience China events in many parts of the world including Germany, the United States, Brazil, Russia and South Africa. They are expected to promote China in more countries, showing that it is a modern and open nation that adheres to peaceful development and has diverse cultures.

Chinese master chefs gave a live demonstration of culinary skill at the ceremony — hoping to whet Japanese people's appetites — and perhaps open the way to their heart.

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