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Japan PM to attend Beijing Olympic ceremony: media

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda decideds to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics to be held on August 8.
Reuters | By HT Correspondent, Tokyo
UPDATED ON JUL 03, 2008 11:11 AM IST

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has decided to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on August 8, and will tell Chinese President Hu Jintao of his decision at a summit next week in Japan, the Nikkei business daily said on Thursday.

Fukuda, who has worked to improve long-fraught ties with neighbouring China since he took office last year, has said repeatedly he would like to attend the Olympic ceremony.

But he has noted that the scheduling would be tight, because he is set to attend a memorial service for victims of the 1945 atomic bomb attack in the southern Japanese city of Nagasaki the following day.

Aiming to save on fuel, Fukuda will fly to Beijing and back to Nagasaki in a small military aircraft, rather than one of the official jumbo jets normally used by the prime minister and members of the imperial family, Kyodo news agency said.

A spokesman for the prime minister's office said Fukuda had not yet decided whether to make the trip to Beijing.

Ties between the two countries have long been chilled by a range of issues, many relating to Japan's invasion and occupation of much of China in the early 20th century. But both governments have made efforts to resolve their differences and in May Hu made the first visit to Japan by a Chinese president in a decade.

Hu visits again next week for expanded talks held alongside the Group of Eight leading nations' summit on the northern island of Hokkaido.

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