50 Years On: Publisher Pushes for Grassroots Exchanges between Japan, China


Tokyo, Sept. 27 (Jiji Press)--As Thursday marks 50 years since the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and China, a publisher of books about the two countries is aiming to continue efforts for grassroots interactions between the East Asian neighbors despite rising tensions.

Duan Yuezhong, chief editor of the Duan Press, has been hosting language sessions every Sunday since August 2007. In the sessions, dubbed Sunday Japanese and Chinese Languages Salon, participants teach each other their languages and freely engage in conversations at a park in the Ikebukuro district in Tokyo's Toshima Ward.

Despite moving online since December 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Duan has hosted over 700 sessions, with more than 30,000 people taking part.

The sessions require no advance reservations and are free, making it easy to join.

"It was especially difficult when Japan nationalized the Senkaku Islands," Duan recalled. "I felt people around us giving nasty looks, and some people even reported us to the police." The islands in the East China Sea, called Diaoyu in China, are also claimed by Beijing.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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