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Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji will appear on a special program to be aired by Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. during his six-day visit to Japan that begins Thursday, TBS officials said Saturday.

The one-hour show will be screened on Oct. 14 at 10 p.m. and will feature Zhu speaking directly with members of a studio audience in Tokyo.

TSB officials said they are currently recruiting about 100 people interested in forming the audience. They also plan to hook up to a studio in the Kansai region to enable residents there to speak directly with the Chinese premier.

Zhu’s aides approved the TV appearance on condition that it involve direct dialogue with ordinary citizens. This format mirrors a TBS program two years ago, which featured U.S. President Bill Clinton during his visit to Japan, the TBS officials said.

Beijing visit under way

BEIJING (Kyodo) The three secretaries general of the ruling coalition arrived in Beijing on Saturday for a three-day visit.

Hiromu Nonaka of the Liberal Democratic Party, Tetsuzo Fuyushiba of New Komeito and Takeshi Noda of the New Conservative Party will meet today with Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji and Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan.

Their talks with Beijing leaders, part of a series of official exchanges aimed at strengthening bilateral ties, will set the stage for Zhu’s visit to Japan that starts Thursday.

Zhu to woo public

HONG KONG (Kyodo) Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji will try to improve the perception of China among ordinary Japanese during his upcoming trip to Japan, a Hong Kong newspaper reported Saturday.

The South China Morning Post reported that Zhu, who will begin a visit to Japan on Thursday, aims to take full advantage of television appearances and meet-the-people sessions in Japan.

Zhu is scheduled to meet with representatives of business and other sectors during his stay, the report says.

Quoting unnamed diplomats in Beijing and Tokyo, the article reports that improving relations at grassroots level will be a major focus of Zhu’s trip, as perceptions of China among ordinary Japanese have become more negative since the 1980s.

The diplomats reportedly said Zhu will raise the issue of Japan giving a proper apology for wartime atrocities while placing more emphasis on “looking to the future.”

Economic issues will, however, dominate Zhu’s visit, the newspaper quoted analysts as saying.

Apart from Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, four economic-related ministers will accompany Zhu on the trip. They are Zeng Peiyan, State Development Planning Commission head, Sheng Huaren, State Economic and Trade Commission head, Finance Minister Xiang Huaicheng and Shi Guangsheng, Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Minister.

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