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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Wen ends visit with farm trip, baseball, business

Staff writer

OSAKA -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao ended his visit to Japan with a trip Friday to the Kansai region, where he visited a farm, met with students at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto and was the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by Osaka business leaders.

News photo
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao places flowers Friday at a monument to the first premier of the People's Republic of China, Zhou Enlai (1898-1976), at Kyoto's Arashiyama Park. Zhou studied at the University of Tokyo as a young man and, during that period, wrote the poem "Arashiyama in the Rain" during a visit to Kyoto in 1919. POOL PHOTO

Wen's Kansai trip was highly anticipated by local leaders. Despite complaints from residents in Kyoto and Osaka that security was excessive, the premier received a warm welcome in a region that emphasizes both its ancient historical ties to China, extending back more than 1,000 years, and its current business relationship.

"In China, there is an attitude among business leaders that business is business, and politics is politics," said Masaaki Nishida, an Osaka businessman who frequently travels to China. "That's also the attitude of people in Osaka, whereas in Tokyo, it's harder to separate the two."

Wen began his day in Kyoto, which was modeled on the city of Xian, China's capital during the Tang Dynasty. He was greeted there by local dignitaries as well as Urasenke Tea Grandmaster Iemoto Sen Soshitsu XVI, who noted that the tea ceremony is common to both China and Japan.

Wen then visited a local rice farm and spoke to students at Ritsumeikan University, before showing off his baseball skills with the school's team.

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The Japan Times

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