The secretaries general of the Liberal Democratic Party and its two coalition partners are considering visiting China and South Korea in the near future, LDP Secretary General Taku Yamasaki said Friday.

Japan’s relations with the two Asian neighbors have recently been strained over controversial junior high school history textbooks, which they claim whitewash Japan’s wartime aggression.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s plan to visit Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, dedicated to the nation’s war dead, has also drawn protests.

Yamasaki said a date has yet to be set for a visit, adding that New Komeito, the larger of the LDP’s two allies, attaches particular importance to relations with Seoul while the New Conservative Party, the other coalition partner, favors China.

Meanwhile, Yamasaki said he, Tetsuzo Fuyushiba of New Komeito, and Takeshi Noda of the New Conservative Party will visit the United States from May 30 to June 2 instead of from May 31 to June 3 as previously announced.

“We hope to support the diplomacy of Prime Minister Koizumi,” he said. “We want to devote our efforts to help make the upcoming Japan-U.S. summit a success.”

Koizumi and U.S. President George W. Bush agreed to meet as soon as possible during their phone conversation April 28, two days after Koizumi took office. But they did not set a date for the summit.

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