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A symposium on the future of Asia got under way Thursday in Tokyo with prominent leaders from East and Southeast Asia participating in the discussions.

The annual conference, the sixth in a series sponsored by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, will last for two days.

In an opening address, Takuhiko Tsuruta, the newspaper’s president, expressed hope that the meeting will be a venue for exchanges of ideas that will allow “Asian voices” to be “heard around the world.”

Day-one topics included Japan-Korea relations, stability on the Korean Peninsula, stabilization in East Asia and the role of China in the region.

Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, who delivered the keynote address, said the future prosperity of the Asian region can be attained through collective action.

Wahid urged Asian countries “to act in collective ways” to establish a common cultural identity.

He said a firm Asian alliance aimed at greater regional prosperity and stability should not alienate or antagonize the rest of the world, but rather “enable Asia to communicate with others” and create an atmosphere of competition.

On the question of Korean Peninsula stability, Gong Ro Myung, a former South Korean foreign minister, told the meeting that Japan can play a role in pursuing the eventual reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

The second day will deal with the revolution in information technology and the path to Asian revitalization.

Asian leaders at the event include Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Singapore’s Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Domingo Siazon.