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April 12, 2007

Chinese Premier Meets with SGI President

Premier Wen (right) and Mr. Ikeda

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with SGI President Daisaku Ikeda at the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo for 30 minutes in the afternoon of April 12, 2007. Mr. Wen was accompanied by a party of eleven including Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi. Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada and General Director Masaaki Masaki were also present. Mr. Ikeda met with the Chinese premier in his capacity as honorary president of Soka Gakkai.

Mr. Wen first met Mr. Ikeda in 1992 when he accompanied then President Jiang Zemin on a visit to Japan. During this most recent meeting he commented that he has read two of Mr. Ikeda's published dialogues. The Chinese premier paid tribute to Mr. Ikeda's efforts to promote friendship between the two countries and presented him a calligraphy in his own hand reading: "Creating a new path to the future through compassion, binding a good relationship through harmony."

Mr. Wen commented that his visit to Japan on this occasion had been the most difficult and most vital of all his overseas visits in recent years. He was heartened to feel the Japanese people's genuine wish for improved relations.

Mr. Ikeda (left) thanks Premier Wen for the calligraphic scroll

Mr. Ikeda praised Mr. Wen's "outstanding" speech at the Diet earlier in the day, describing it as a great and heartfelt declaration for peace and friendship between the two countries. He commented that he was reminded of Zhou Enlai--observing the same love for humanity, deep insight into history and clear vision. He congratulated Mr. Wen on the great success of his "ice thawing" visit.

As the meeting ended, Mr. Wen expressed his wish for a longer discussion at the next opportunity.

For nearly four decades, Mr. Ikeda has consistently promoted friendly relations between Japan and China. He has visited China on ten occasions and on his second visit, in December 1974, he met with Zhou Enlai, shortly before the Chinese premier's death.

Mr. Ikeda was an early proponent of normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, starting with a proposal made in 1968. Over the years, he has initiated numerous cultural and educational exchanges as bridges of peace between the two countries. In 1975, Soka University, founded by Mr. Ikeda, welcomed the first Chinese exchange students to study in Japan after the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations. He has been awarded over 70 honorary doctorates and professorships from universities and academies in China in recognition of his contributions to Sino-Japanese exchange and friendship.

[Adapted from an SGI press release dated April 13, 2007.]