OSAKA – About 2,000 children from local Japanese and Korean schools gathered Sunday here to mark the third anniversary of the inter-Korean declaration, as well as to promote exchanges between Koreans and Japanese and the reunification of Korea.
The children stood in formation to make the characters and letters for “Hana Osaka” at a park on the grounds of Osaka Castle. They then released about 1,000 colored balloons, drawing applause from the estimated 30,000 spectators.
The activities were part of the “Osaka Hana Maturi” to mark the third anniversary of the joint declaration signed by North and South Korea on June 15, 2000.
“Hana” means “one” in Korean, and “maturi” comes from a ritual expression in ancient Korean that is similar to the Japanese word “matsuri,” which means festival.
The event symbolizes the hopes for the reunification of the Korean Peninsula and is held to promote cultural exchanges between Korean residents of Japan and the people of Osaka.
The event was sponsored by an organizing committee made up of representatives from the Osaka chapters of the pro-Seoul Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan) and the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryun).
The inter-Korean declaration was signed at a historic three-day summit between then South Korean President Kim Dae Jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
The agreement aims to resolve the issue of reunification independently and through the joint efforts of the Korean people.
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