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Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has asked Foreign Minister Yohei Kono to issue an entry visa to former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui should he apply for one, several government sources said Friday.

According to sources close to the issue, Lee is contemplating a visit to Japan early next month to see a doctor in Okayama Prefecture on his way back from a trip to the United States.

However, it remains uncertain whether the Foreign Ministry will heed Mori’s request, given that he has conveyed his intention to step down and the fact that Sino-Japanese relations are at a sensitive juncture.

Beijing has criticized Japan’s approval of a controversial history textbook earlier this week, and the recent collision between a Chinese fighter jet and a U.S. military surveillance aircraft flying out of Okinawa Prefecture has also ruffled China’s feathers.

Lee hoped to visit Japan last autumn to attend a symposium in Nagano Prefecture, but the government did not issue him a visa in view of the reaction the move could draw from Beijing.

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