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Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto may visit Hong Kong in early September on his way to or from Beijing to demonstrate Japan’s strong support for the British colony’s continued prosperity, government sources said June 26.

The sources said the government is considering having Hashimoto visit Hong Kong in conjunction with his planned trip to China in September to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations in 1972. “If Prime Minister Hashimoto makes an official visit to Hong Kong in early September, he will probably become the first top government leader of a major industrialized country to do so after it returns to Chinese sovereignty,” one government source said.

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