BEIJING, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- China deeply mourned the passing of Mr. Daisaku Ikeda, honorary president of Japan's major lay Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai, and extended sincere condolences to his family, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Monday.
Ikeda, honorary president of the Soka Gakkai, died on Nov. 15 at age 95 in Tokyo. Ikeda proposed the normalization of China-Japan relations in 1968 in Japan and actively involved himself in promoting friendship between the two countries.
Spokesperson Mao Ning told a daily press briefing that China expressed profound grief and deep condolences over the passing of Mr. Ikeda and extended sincere sympathies to his family.
"Over the decades, Mr. Ikeda, as the leader of the Soka Gakkai, remained committed to China-Japan friendship and made an important contribution to rebuilding and growing the relations between our two countries," Mao said, noting that he was a dear old friend of the Chinese people and had their trust and respect.
"When Mr. Ikeda first visited China in 1974, he said he wanted to build a 'golden bridge' of peace between China and Japan. We hope the golden bridge he advocated will stand forever," Mao said. ■