A Chinese student who braved a river swollen by a typhoon to save a drowning boy in Japan was thanked Wednesday by that country’s leader.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave 26-year-old Yan Jun of Shanghai a letter of commendation and said his “courageous act” was a good example for young Japanese.
On September 16, Yan was jogging along the Yodo River in Osaka when he saw a 9-year-old boy struggling in the water.
Yan jumped in, but was unable to reach the boy on the first attempt due to the strong current, which was intensified by flooding from Typhoon Man-Yi. Yan then ran further down the river and jumped in again before pulling the boy to shore.
"I thought I should rescue him," Yan told reporters after the ceremony. "I'll do what I did if I ever face the same situation again."
The event comes at a time of increased tensions between Japan and China over disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diayou Islands in Chinese.
When news of Yan’s heroism first broke, there was an outpouring of praise from Japanese Internet users who praised Yan’s heroism and selflessness. These characterizations are in stark contrast to the stereotype of the “rude” Chinese tourist.
On China’s version of Twitter, Sina Weibo, there were over 1,000 messages of praise for Yan.
Writing a day after the incident, Yan said he was grateful for the support.