Chinese ambassador meets with governor: Expresses desire to attend Peace Memorial Ceremony

Details of timing not discussed

by Daigo Kanezashi and Kei Kinugawa, Staff Writers

Cheng Yonghua, Chinese ambassador to Japan, has responded favorably to an invitation by the governor of Hiroshima Prefecture to attend the August 6 Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima. The ambassador met with Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki in the prefectural offices on November 27 and indicated that he would try to arrange his schedule so as to be able to attend the ceremony but made no mention of whether that would be next year or some year in the future.

John Roos, former American ambassador to Japan, attended the ceremony three times, starting in 2010. Citing that precedent, Gov. Yuzaki urged the Chinese ambassador to consider attending. Mr. Cheng indicated a willingness to do so and told the governor, “Peace is important, and the aims of the people of Hiroshima are generally in line with China’s philosophy.” If Mr. Cheng attends the ceremony, he will be the first Chinese ambassador to do so.

Every year the City of Hiroshima sends invitations to the Peace Memorial Ceremony to all ambassadors to Japan. China is the only one of the five nuclear powers whose ambassador has never attended. The Chinese consul-general in Osaka did attend the ceremony in 2008, however.

With regard to the deteriorating relations between Japan and China, Mr. Cheng said, “If we cooperate, it will benefit both sides. If we quarrel, both sides will get hurt. We must work toward building a better relationship in the future.”

Mr. Cheng also visited Fukuyama, where he met with Mayor Akira Hada.

(Originally published on November 28, 2013)