By Yue Linwei, People’s Daily
“My father always keeps the letter from President Xi Jinping,” said Hiroaki Tsukamoto, president of Japanese company Tokai Lease Co., Ltd., during a recent interview with People’s Daily, showing a photo in his mobile phone in which his father Yukishi Tsukamoto is holding the letter.
The letter was sent from the Chinese president on May 10, 2019. In the letter, Xi said he often recalled his visit to the Tsukamoto family in Japan. Xi expressed his appreciation for the decades-long efforts made by the Japanese businessman to promote China-Japan friendship. He said he was looking forward to meeting Yukishi Tsukamoto again.
“Though my father is getting on in years and has not visited China since 2008, he always hopes to go to China again and meet President Xi,” Hiroaki Tsukamoto told People’s Daily.
Yukishi Tsukamoto is the founding president of Tokai Lease Co., Ltd. In 1988, the man, in his sixties, expanded his business and set up a company in Fuzhou, southeast China’s Fujian province.
In May, 1991, Xi, who then served as the secretary of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Fuzhou municipal committee, visited Japan and went to the Tsukamoto family.
“The Chinese guest was amiable and polite. He showed his wisdom and long-term vision in the conversations, and soon hit it off with my family,” Hiroaki Tsukamoto recalled.
“My mother told me that I should learn from Xi. Though he was just a few years older than me, Xi has such a visionary view,” Hiroaki Tsukamoto noted, who still has a vivid memory of the visit though it’s been more than 30 years.
Hiroaki Tsukamoto has visited Fujian multiple times with his father, and called on Xi who was then working in the province.
“He was kind and easy-going. In our conversations, he not only mentioned the industrial cooperation between China and Japan, but also introduced to us the economic development of Fujian, as well as the improvement in the livelihood of the local people,” Hiroaki Tsukamoto said.
At that moment, the Japanese businessman realized that Xi always bears the Chinese people in mind and saw the noble mission of the CPC to seek happiness for the Chinese people.
Yukishi Tsukamoto has been honored for times in China due to his important contributions to China-Japan economic cooperation and exchanges.
In April, 1996, he received honorary citizenship of Fuzhou city, and a year later, he was awarded the Friendship Award from the Chinese government. In October, 2001, he became an honorary citizen of Fujian province and attended the awarding ceremony with his three-generation family.
With the steps of China’s opening up, the business of the Tsukamoto family in China has further expanded. Hiroaki Tsukamoto said that China’s development and changes since the 18th CPC National Congress are obvious to all, and the CPC’s anti-corruption efforts have created a clean social environment.
“My father always says that the CPC’s anti-corruption fight suggests that the CPC is a political party that is courageous enough to carry out self-reform,” Hiroaki Tsukamoto said.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core has lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese people out of poverty, put an end to absolute poverty, and implemented the rural vitalization strategy.
Hiroaki Tsukamoto has paid multiple visits to rural Fujian for business, where he was quite impressed by the historic achievements and changes in China’s agriculture and rural affairs.
“When we built factories in Fujian a few decades ago, the factories were surrounded by barren land, but now they have been developed into central districts, which are completely different from what I saw earlier,” Hiroaki Tsukamoto said, adding that the transport today is well connected, the rural environment is more beautiful and the infrastructure is more complete.
Hiroaki Tsukamoto always shares what he sees nowadays in China with his parents, who were full of praise every time they learned about the country’s rapid development achieved under the leadership of Xi.
All three generations in the Tsukamoto family share a close bond with China. Hiroaki Tsukamoto’s child went to China for study this September.
“It’s a pity for me and my father that we can’t speak Chinese, so I hope my child can learn to speak the language. We will keep working generation after generation to carry forward our friendship with China,” Hiroaki Tsukamoto said.