Dorm for foreign students to act as Japan-China bridge

Dorm for foreign students to act as Japan-China bridge
University of Tokyo.

The Tokyo metropolitan government is taking steps to ensure that Ota Kinen-kan-a dormitory in Suginami Ward, Tokyo, hosting students from other Asian nations-builds a stronger bridge between Japan and China.

Planned measures include greater efforts to encourage ties among the dormitory's former residents, which include graduates from Japanese universities and other schools.

Owned by the metropolitan government, Ota Kinen-kan accommodates students from Beijing and other Asian cities.

The building was built on a tract of land donated by Unosuke Ota, a late foreign affairs analyst who had close relations with China, particularly Sun Yat-sen. When the dormitory first opened in 1990, it accommodated only students from Beijing.

Amid worsening relations between Japan and China, the metropolitan government hopes to see the dormitory play a role in improving bilateral ties by building a network of Asian alumni who stayed there during their studies, among other plans.

The local government also intends to invite the mayor of Beijing to a ceremony next year to mark the 25th anniversary of the dormitory's establishment.

Since 2002, the dormitory has been accepting students from such cities as Seoul and Taipei. Of the 41 students it can accommodate, 24 are from Beijing.

The dormitory has been home to many students at the University of Tokyo, Waseda University and Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Though its former residents are believed to be active in various fields, the career paths they have pursued after graduation have not been documented.

In offering accommodation, the Tokyo government will give priority to applicants from Beijing who are studying issues of concern to both cities, including PM2.5 microparticles, traffic jams, and water supply and sewerage systems. The metropolitan government also expects them to cooperate in its Japan-China friendship project.

Tokyo goverment Yoichi Masuzoe said, "We will actively promote Tokyo's diplomacy through the use of Ota Kinen-kan," at the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly session on June 17.

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