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June 13, 2010

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Japan's friendly vessel

A REPLICA of an ancient Kentoshi ship sailed along the Huangpu River yesterday afternoon as part of the Japan Pavilion's celebrations for its National Pavilion Day.

Hundreds of visitors gathered on the river banks to witness the exotic vessel sail by.

Famous Japanese actor Ken Watanabe was on board with several other Japanese singers and actors in a renactment of the vessel's original purpose.?

"Kentoshi" refers to the Japanese students who came to China to study its culture and political system during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907).

The ship was regarded as a symbol of friendship between Chinese and Japanese people, as it was used to transport the students from Japan to China.

Japan's former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama attended the celebrations as representative of Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

"The idea of building a better city may help solve the vital problems we are facing, such as the problems of environment protection, water resource, nuclear energy, and others," Hatoyama said.

He also lauded the World Expo for further improving the important relationship between the two countries.

He said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Japan on May 30 had left a deep impression and a hotline connecting the two nations' leaders would be re-established between Wen and Japan's new prime minister.

Meanwhile, fans of Japanese anime, songs and video games are in for a treat as many of their favorite cartoon characters and singers will feature at the Asia Square in Zone A until next Friday as part of the Japan International Contents Festival, or CoFesta.

Singers of anime songs, such as Chihiro Yonekura and Ichiro Mizuki who are popular with Chinese youngsters, will perform classic anime tracks for their fans today and tomorrow evening from 6:30pm at the Asia Square.

Japanese pop group W-inds performed at the Expo Center yesterday, but Expo officials have canceled a concert by another popular Japanese band, SMAP, which was to take place today, due to security concerns.


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