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Dalai Lama’s planned Japan visit irks China

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The Dalai Lama, leader of the Tibetan government in exile, is set to visit Japan at the invitation of Diet members despite opposition from China, the Mainichi has learned.

The Dalai Lama has come to Japan some 10 times at the invitation of religious organizations or while en route to other countries.

When the Dalai Lama talked with Japanese politicians during the visits, the meetings were intentionally designed to have happened “by chance” because the politicians didn’t want to raise the ire of Beijing.

But the Tibetan leader’s visit to Japan in November has been organized openly by a bipartisan group of Diet members from the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), and China is trying to have it canceled, sources said.

Officials of the Chinese Embassy in Japan want to talk with Seishu Makino, a leading member of the bipartisan group from the DPJ.

Makino reportedly has rejected the Chinese officials’ request. “I will meet with them if they allow me to be accompanied by other politicians in the group,” Makino said.

A Chinese Embassy official even lobbied Katsuya Okada, the DPJ’s secretary general, to pressure the bipartisan group to cancel the Dalai Lama’s visit. Okada told the official that his party was unable to give any orders to the group.

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