Fukuda to attend Olympic opening

Kyodo News

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will attend the Aug. 8 opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, government sources said Thursday.

He will travel in a 19-seat Air Self-Defense Force airplane, rather use a government aircraft, to save fuel, they said.

Fukuda will be the first Japanese prime minister to attend an Olympics opening ceremony since Noboru Takeshita went to Seoul in 1988. Following his talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao in May, Fukuda said he would “positively consider” attending the opening ceremony.

Fukuda will arrive in Beijing the day of the ceremony and return home in time to attend the annual memorial service for victims of the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki the next day.