Foreign and Military Affairs

Smile, and live again

Updated: 2011-05-22 07:58

By Wu Jiao (China Daily)

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Smile, and live again

Premier Wen Jiabao, right, cheers up a young quake victim with the gift of a toy panda.[Photo/Agencies]

Premier Wen's encouraging words, gifts for quake victims

MIYAGI/FUKUSHIMA, Japan - To live with a smile: That is the message Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao left with a Japanese family that lost almost all of its possessions in the devastating March earthquake and tsunami.

That is also the message the 69-year-old senior leader wants to deliver to China's afflicted neighbor, dealing with so much adversity.

He drew a smiling face on a temporary wall used to separate dozens of families sheltered in a sports complex in Fukushima, about 60 kilometers northwest of the stricken power plant that had triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

Next to it, Wen wrote: "To live with a smile" for the Tanida family, whom he was visiting.

The premier also wrote the characters "confidence" and "courage" for several Japanese evacuees who had asked him to leave them something for encouragement.

The premier, called "Grandpa Wen" at home because of his man-of-the-people touch, chatted and laughed with tsunami survivors at the evacuation center, handing out T-shirts, stuffed panda toys and hand-sized power generators.

Wen said the visit to Fukushima was a personal choice, as the city is the most severely hit by the triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. The area is still struggling to control its problem with nuclear radiation.

In a show of support for the region's farmers, Wen sampled cherry tomatoes and cucumbers at the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

Fukushima was the second stop of the premier's tour of East Japan's disaster-hit zone.

The city was the most severely jolted in the March earthquake.

Its buildings were flattened, smashed vehicles piled up along the main roads and new graveyards erected testify to the great loss of lives. Yet, the signs of life are vigorous, and two month after the disaster, farmers are already busy transplanting rice seedling on restored farmlands.

Wen paid tribute to the more than 10,000 lives lost in the city by placing a bouquet of flowers at a tsunami-wrecked ruin and said he wished for a "better life for those alive"

"Disasters can destroy homes, but they cannot destroy the spirit of the people," he said as he toured the city in trainers, a blue shirt and a dark jacket.

"I firmly believe that the Japanese people can rebuild their homeland both through their own effort and support from the international community," he said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry had said earlier that the visit to Fukushima was a personal decision by Premier Wen, to show China's support for Japan's reconstruction effort. As a parting gift, the premier left paper cranes with some children sheltering in a primary school. The cranes were folded by Chinese children from Wenchuan, Sichuan, a city that was devastated by a huge earthquake three years ago.



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