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Soka Gakkai President and Chinese Premier Meet

Diplomacy

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The following report was adapted from www.sgi.org.

TOKYO, May 10—In a poignant ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the Sino- Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Japan. Mr. Harada pledged to continue efforts initiated by SGI President Ikeda to strengthen China- Japan friendship and cultural exchange.

Guests also included Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

President Harada informed the Chinese premier of his plan to visit China in October with a delegation of Soka Gakkai representatives from throughout Japan.

Premier Li responded that the delegation would be wholeheartedly welcomed. He also expressed his appreciation for a Chinese poem he received on May 9 as a token of friendship from President Ikeda.

In 1985, Premier Li visited Japan as deputy leader of an All-China Youth Federation (ACYF) delegation that met with President Ikeda in Tokyo. On that occasion, the ACYF and the Soka Gakkai youth division signed an exchange protocol, leading to 32 subsequent exchange visits between the two groups.

In addition to the 40th anniversary of the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship, this year marks the 50th anniversary of a proposal calling for the normalization of relations between China and Japan made by President Ikeda on Sept. 8, 1968. To honor these occasions, the Soka Gakkai plans several commemorative initiatives.

A Soka Gakkai women’s delegation will visit Beijing, Dalian and Xi’an in June, and, in October, a Soka Gakkai delegation to China will be hosted by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC).

In July, the Soka Gakkai wil welcome a delegation from China, with 22 ACYF representatives scheduled to visit Tokyo, Miyagi, Fukushima and Hokkaido. On Sept. 8, the “Japan- China Forum for the New Era” will be held in Tokyo. Researchers from China and Japan will attend, and speakers will include Chinese Ambassador to Japan H.E. Cheng Yonghua and former Japanese Ambassador to China Yuji Miyamoto.

Background

In order to promote peace and friendship between China and Japan, Daisaku Ikeda visited China 10 times between 1974 and 1997, meeting with Vice Premier Li Xiannian in June 1974, and Premier Zhou Enlai and Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping in December 1974. In Tokyo, he met with President Jiang Zemin in November 1998, Premier Wen Jiabao in April 2007 and President Hu Jintao in May 2008. President Ikeda also initiated numerous cultural and educational exchange programs that have continued regardless of shifts in the political climate between the two countries.

When President Ikeda issued his bold proposal to normalize Sino-Japanese relations on Sept. 8, 1968, the two countries were still technically in a state of war and anti-China sentiments were widespread in Japan in the midst of the Cold War. Following his speech, President Ikeda was strongly criticized, even receiving death threats. President Ikeda, however, saw peace with China as fundamental to the stability of the Asian region, and considered the reintegration of China into the international community as vital to world peace. His call helped establish the groundwork for a series of politicallevel exchanges with China, culminating in restoration of diplomatic relations in 1972. President Ikeda’s behind-thescenes efforts to bring this about are today widely acknowledged in China.

To read more about President Ikeda’s efforts to restore Sino- Japanese relations and his 1968 proposal, visit daisakuikeda.org > “Peacebuilder” > “Advancing Peace” > “Sino-Japanese Relations.” Please also see installments 40–41 of “Vow” Chapter from The New Human Revolution at worldtribune.org.