Relations between Japan and China are more than a little rocky at the moment. What's getting all the attention is a territorial dispute over a group of tiny, uninhabited islands south of Okinawa. Both countries claim them. The dispute has hurt Japanese travel to China. But as Japan public broadcaster NHK reports, Chinese don't seem to be deterred from visiting Japan.
The centuries old Forbidden City is a popular site in Beijing, but take a look around and you hardly see any Japanese visitors. Travel agency owner, Sun Bo, says it's been this way for almost a year.
It's so bad, business is down 80 to 90 percent. I'm making no money at all. My business is almost in the red.
Sun works with a major firm in Japan to bring Japanese groups to China. But as relations remain tense between the countries, fewer Japanese are choosing to come. On the other hand, Chinese businesses arranging tours to Japan have seen a rebound in business. In the past two months, Japan's embassy in Beijing has issued 10 percent more tourist visas compared to the same time last year.
Political relations between China and Japan are not so good. But that has no impact at the grassroots level.
And it's not just for holidays. Japan is still attracting many young Chinese wanting to stay for an extended time. Last month, Liu Muyan began a year of studies at this school in Nagano. It's part of an exchange program set up by the Japanese government several years ago to promote mutual understanding between the countries.
I'm sure that I can become a bridge that links the people of Japan and China.
I was expecting him to be anti-Japanese, but he is seeker to learn all he can about Japan. And his Japanese is good. This experience taught me not to be misled what other say.
This expert says people like Liu are exactly what Japan and China need.
Satoshi Amako: The scale of misunderstanding may grow time goes by, but exchanges are taking place between people from the two countries on a daily bases. Those people deserve our attention. I think they should have more prominence.
So while the governments of Japan and China continue to seek ways to mend ties, some regular people are already forging ahead. Improving relations and understanding to strengthen ties.
Pakistan is reeling from a horrific suicide bombing. More than 80 people were killed and more than a hundred others were injured after an Episcopalian church was attacked. Here's Japan's public broadcaster NHK.
Two suicide bombers blew themselves up among hundreds of worshippers in a church in Peshawar. Sectarian violence between majority Sunni and minority Shi'a groups has been rampant. But attacks against Christians have been rare in the predominant Muslim country. A local Islamic extremist group has claimed responsibility. They said all non-Muslim groups are targets and the attack was to retaliate against US drone strikes in Pakistan. Christians called for an end to the violence. They protested across the country including the capital, Islamabad, and in Karachi in the south.