• Kyodo

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Transport minister Chikage Ogi on Monday emphasized Japan’s hopes that China will adopt shinkansen technology for a planned high-speed railway linking Shanghai and Beijing.

“I’m here to show Japan’s zeal,” Ogi, minister of land, infrastructure and transport, told reporters here after meeting with He Guangwei, director of China’s National Tourism Administration.

“I asked for acknowledgment of (Japan’s) knowhow of over 40 years.”

Although it is unclear whether Ogi will meet Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, she is expected to pitch the bullet train system during meetings with officials representing a committee overseeing the high-speed railway plan, as well as vice ministers of the Ministry of Railways.

Ogi and He also discussed bilateral tourism promotion, with the sector having been hit by severe acute respiratory syndrome, according to Japanese officials.

On Tuesday, Tokyo plans to set up a tourism-promotion committee in Beijing as part of its drive to double the number of foreign visitors to Japan.

Ogi also welcomed China’s plan to expand the number of regions whose residents can join group tours to Japan, according to the officials.

Visas for group tours to Japan are currently limited to residents of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong Province. China aims to add Tianjin, Shandong Province, Zhejiang Province, Jiangsu Province and Liaoning Province to this list.

He was quoted as telling Ogi, “China is preparing to invite tourists from Japan and the rest of the world, overcoming SARS.”

Japanese and Chinese diplomatic sources said last weekend that China, the second most popular destination for Japanese travelers, will waive visas for Japanese on short-term visits, possibly beginning in the fall.

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