A delegation dispatched by the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation held a reception for Japanese friends here Sunday evening in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between China and Japan.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Takeshi Noda, former head of the Komeito party Akihiro Ohta, as well as descendants of Toten Miyazaki and Shokichi Umeya, both friends with Sun Yat-sen who was a great forerunner of China's democratic revolution, attended the reception.
Wang Jiarui, chairman of the foundation and head of the delegation, said at the reception that Soong Ching Ling, the late Honorary President of the People's Republic of China and in whose name the foundation was set up, married Sun Yat-sen in Japan in 1915.
The couple's lasting friendship with their Japanese friends, while playing a positive role for China's democratic revolution, has been a much-told story on friendly exchanges between the peoples of China and Japan, Wang said.
Wang added that the delegation, kicking off their visit on Saturday with the theme "ping-pong friendship," will also go to schools and local communities to communicate with Japanese ping-pong players and ping-pong lovers and common citizens.
Yukio Hatoyama said that ping-pong diplomacy, the exchanges between ping-pong players of the United States and China in the early 1970s which first began at the 31st World Table Tennis Championships held in Nagoya, Japan in 1971, also paved the way for China and Japan to normalize bilateral diplomatic relationship.
He said that he believes the delegation, including those who experienced the ping-pong diplomacy in the 1970s and ping-pong world champions, will make further contribution to bilateral friendship between China and Japan.
Takeshi Noda, lawmaker from Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said that China has scored a lot of great achievements since implementing the reform and opening up policy 40 years ago and played an important role in almost all areas in the world.
He said he saw no reason that China and Japan shouldn't stay friendly to each other in the next 40 years, and that as China and Japan are close neighbors, it is very important for them to have a friendly relationship.
Earlier in the day, members of the delegation took part in the first China-Japan International Ping-pong Communication Competition here in Tokyo.
The delegation will head for Nagoya on Tuesday to attend a high-school ping-pong communication event and visit the Ping-pong Diplomacy Memorial Wall.