• Kyodo News

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Two hundred high school students from China will pay a nine-day visit to Japan from Wednesday as part of the government’s initiative to broaden exchanges among youths in East Asia Summit member nations.

“We hope that this program will deepen mutual understanding among the youths and contribute to a sense of solidarity in the region and promote good sentiment toward Japan,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said.

The initiative, known as the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths Program, was proposed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he met leaders at the second East Asia Summit in January in the Philippines.

Abe said Japan will invite about 6,000 youths annually for the next five years.

The students will visit various parts of Japan, including Osaka, Hiroshima and Okinawa, attend a seminar on Sino-Japanese ties, experience home-stays and sit in on classes at high schools before leaving June 7, the Foreign Ministry said.

Japan hopes to invite youths from South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said Shiozaki, the government’s top spokesman.

ASEAN’s members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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