An Akita native who has personally funded scholarships for over 10 years to Russian students learning Japanese at a Vladivostok university says that he hopes the recipients will become a bridge to promote bilateral friendship.

Koichi Muto, 68, launched the scholarship program as well as grants for instructors at the Japanese-language department of the Far Eastern Federal University in October 2001, after learning that many of them were in financial hardship.

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