Chinese Consulate-General in Osaka organizes second visit to Xinjiang region for Japanese
Published: Jul 12, 2023 11:47 PM
Mr Sonoyama, a member of the Japanese tour group, visits a night market in Aksu of Xinjiang region. Photo: Courtesy of Guo Qiang

Mr Sonoyama, a member of the Japanese tour group, visits a night market in Aksu of Xinjiang region. Photo: Courtesy of Guo Qiang

The Chinese Consulate-General in Osaka, Japan on Wednesday invited more Japanese to visit Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in early September. The invitation comes after the first batch of Japanese visitors wrapped up a fruitful journey to Xinjiang in July that gave them a fresh understanding of the region. 

On Wednesday, Chinese Consul General in Osaka Xue Jian released a notice for Japanese, saying that it is currently organizing a second trip to Xinjiang. The deadline to apply to take part in the second visit is July 21, while the journey, which costs around 330,000 yen ($2,360), is scheduled for September 1-9. Members of the group are also welcome to livestream their journey on social media. 

Mainstream media outlets in Japan have remained silent concerning the first visit of Japanese tourists to the Xinjiang region, and instead are still spreading disinformation about the region. However, their smearing has failed to impact the trip, as the visitors' livestreams of their journey has attracted major attention on social media in Japan, contributing to a "Xinjiang hit" among Japanese, Xue told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

From June 19 to 27, the first group of 20 Japanese tourists, which was also the first Japanese tour group to the region since China's optimization of COVID-19 policy, visited five cities in the Xinjiang region - Urumqi, Turpan, Korla, Aksu and Kashi - during which time they enjoyed the landscapes, chatted with locals at night fairs, danced with students in a primary school in Kashi and learned the history of Muslims at the Id Kah Mosque in Kashi and that of Buddhism in the Kizil Cave-Temple Complex in Aksu. 

The success of the first visit showcased the charm of the Xinjiang region and demonstrated the old saying that "justice will prevail," said Xue.

Almost all the members of the tour group mentioned that what they had seen in the Xinjiang region was totally different from what Japanese media had presented. For example, by visiting an automatic cotton factory, they learned that the so-called "forced labor" allegation is a total lie, said Xue. 

Xue also introduced that the second tour group will travel from northern Xinjiang to southern Xinjiang by train, allowing members to better enjoy the scenery.

Yoji Yamazoe, 83, who was also the eldest member of the first tour group, has his own way to remember this trip - after returning to Japan, he collated all the photos, videos and notes he took along the journey.

The safety of the region impressed Yamazoe. He told the Global Times that during his previous 18-day visit to Egypt, he was escorted by armed "tour police" amid a dangerous atmosphere. But he felt no danger at all in the Xinjiang region and went to the night market to experience the night life of residents.

He also saw children, women and the elderly enjoy dancing in the parks, which allowed him to understand why they enjoy such safe and happy lives.