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Tokyo, April 13, 2007/Kyodo JBN/--
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with Soka Gakkai Honorary President Daisaku Ikeda at the New Otani Hotel for 30 minutes in the afternoon of April 12. Mr. Wen was accompanied by a party of eleven including Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi. Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada and General Director Masaaki Masaki were also present.
Mr. Wen, who first met Mr. Ikeda in 1992 when he accompanied then President Jiang Zemin on a visit to Japan, commented that he has read two of the Buddhist leader's published dialogues. The Chinese premier paid tribute to Mr. Ikeda's efforts to promote friendship between the two countries and presented him with calligraphy in his own hand reading: "Creating a new path to the future through compassion, binding a good relationship through harmony."
Mr. Wen commented that his visit to Japan on this occasion had been the most difficult and most vital of all his overseas visits in recent years. He was heartened to feel the Japanese people's genuine wish for improved relations.
Mr. Ikeda praised Mr. Wen's "outstanding" speech at the Diet earlier in the day, describing it as a great and heartfelt declaration for peace and friendship between the two countries. He commented that he was reminded of Zhou Enlai--observing the same love for humanity, deep insight into history and clear vision. He congratulated Mr. Wen on the great success of his "ice thawing" visit.
As the meeting ended, Mr. Wen expressed his wish for a longer discussion at the next opportunity.
Daisaku Ikeda has consistently promoted friendly relations between Japan and China for nearly four decades. He has visited China on ten occasions and on his second visit, in December 1974, he met with Zhou Enlai, shortly before the Chinese premier's death.
Mr. Ikeda was an early proponent of normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, starting with a proposal made in 1968, and has initiated numerous cultural and educational exchanges as bridges of peace between the two countries. In 1975, Soka University, founded by Mr. Ikeda, welcomed the first Chinese exchange students to study in Japan after the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations. He has been awarded over 70 honorary doctorates and professorships from universities and academies in China in recognition of his contributions to Sino-Japanese exchange and friendship.
The Soka Gakkai is a lay Buddhist association actively promoting peace, culture and education which has a membership of around 10 million in Japan. Daisaku Ikeda was president of Soka Gakkai from 1960 to 1979 and is now president of the Soka Gakkai International and honorary president of the Soka Gakkai.
Source: Soka Gakkai International
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