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Speech contest held in Tokyo to foster understanding of Hong Kong (with photos)

     The finals of the 2013 Hong Kong Cup All Japan University Students English Speech Contest took place today (December 14) in Tokyo, where 15 outstanding contestants from universities all across Japan presented their thoughts on various aspects of Hong Kong.

     This was the sixth edition of the contest, which is organised by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Tokyo) and the Japan News with a view to encouraging young people in Japan to learn more about Hong Kong and gain a better understanding of the vibrant, cosmopolitan city.

     This year's themes were "What I like most about Hong Kong", "What I want to do if I were to live/work/study in Hong Kong", "My questions for the Hong Kong people", "Hong Kong pop culture" and "Should Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour be listed as a heritage site under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization?".

     Out of the 140 students participating in the first and final rounds of the contest, Miss Nao Shoji of Keio University emerged as the champion.

     In her speech entitled "Hong Kong: A Home for Everyone", Miss Shoji told the audience that different ethnicities coincide with each other to create a harmony in Hong Kong and this characteristic makes Hong Kong a city that has potential to be everyone's homes. She also said, "Hong Kong is a beautiful city that has an energetic and welcoming atmosphere which makes everyone feel accepted and comfortable". Her performance impressed the panel of judges, who considered her speech content interesting and her delivery excellent.

     The other top three winners were Mr Iskander Akylbayev of Tsukuba University, Miss Kyoko Takigawa of Osaka University and Mr Shunsuke Minemura of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

     The four winners will visit Hong Kong and attend a 10-day exchange programme at the Chinese University of Hong Kong early next year to experience first-hand the city's energy and unique characteristics.

     Addressing the finalists and the audience at the event, the Principal Hong Kong Economic and Trade Representative (Tokyo), Ms Sally Wong, noted the long tradition of exchange, co-operation and partnership enjoyed by Hong Kong and Japan.

     "Hong Kong has always remained a friendly, welcoming and hospitable place for Japanese people," she said.

     Ms Wong went on to say that she hopes the experience of taking part in the contest has helped the students to build their confidence and skills in public speaking.

     "And for us, it is always interesting and sometimes eye-opening to hear what young people here have to say about Hong Kong, our hometown," she added.

     As a guest speaker at today's event, the Chairman of Fenix Group Holdings Ltd, Mr Masaaki Ogino, shared his experience in operating a successful business with Hong Kong as the base. Among other lines of business, the company runs the city'super specialty food store chain, which now has 25 outlets in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Mainland.

     The contest was supported by Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, Dah Chong Hong (Japan) Ltd, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Tourism Board were among the sponsors of the prizes.

     The panel of judges was led by Professor Timothy Wright of Otsuma Women's University. Other members were Ms Wong; the Chairman and Representative Director of Dah Chong Hong (Japan) Ltd, Mr Simon Cheuk; and the Managing Editor of the Japan News, Mr Takashi Sadahiro.

Ends/Saturday, December 14, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:22


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