Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki visited Tuesday the ruins of a graveyard in the suburbs of Beijing where islanders from the time when the southern Japanese prefecture was the Ryukyu Kingdom were buried during the Qing Dynasty.
Recognizing the long history of the relationship between China and the islands, the governor told reporters, "We will inherit and firmly maintain ties between China and Okinawa and create a peaceful and rich era."
The graveyard commemorates Ryukyu islanders who succumbed to illness or were killed in accidents during the dynasty, which lasted from the 17th century to 1912. The kingdom, which lasted until the 19th century, had tributary relations with both China and Japan.
Tamaki is visiting China from Monday as a member of a Japanese delegation headed by former House of Representatives speaker Yohei Kono. The group including many business representatives held talks with Chinese Commerce Ministry officials on Tuesday.