Japanese panda painting exhibition held in Tokyo

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A Japanese panda painting exhibition was held Thursday in Tokyo, as China and Japan celebrate the 50th anniversary of the normalization of their diplomatic relations.

Zhan Kongchao, counselor and consul general of the Chinese embassy in Japan, attended the opening ceremony.

The exhibition featured more than 300 paintings from across Japan with different styles, which reflect the love for giant pandas and best wishes for China-Japan friendship by Japanese people and overseas Chinese living in Japan.

Among the participants, the youngest is only two years old and the eldest is 92 years old, according to the organizers.

"The foundation of China-Japan friendship lies in the people. It is gratifying that so many Japanese teenagers participated in the painting exhibition," Zhan said at the opening ceremony.

"Pandas arrived in Japan in 1972, when the two countries saw the normalization of diplomatic ties. The exhibition will help us relive our original aspiration to normalize China-Japan relations, and bring people of the two countries to cherish the friendship between each other even more," said Zhan.

Lan Lan and Kang Kang, the first batch of giant pandas sent to Japan, arrived at Tokyo's Ueno Zoological Gardens on October 28, 1972. The giant panda has been loved by people in Japan for half a century.

Koji Kimura, a retired Japanese table tennis player long dedicated to Japan-China friendship, said at the ceremony that the giant panda now has become a messenger of peace in the friendly exchanges between Japan and China.

Kimura said he was moved to see so many friends using paintings to express their love for giant pandas and best wishes for Japan-China friendship, adding that he hopes people-to-people exchanges between the two countries will become even richer.

More than 300 paintings will be displayed in batches in Tokyo until next spring.

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