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Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said Sunday he did not think that Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka had promised her Chinese counterpart Tang Jiaxuan that Japan will not issue further entry visas to former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui.

“I am not aware of her saying so,” Abe said on a TV Asahi program.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry sources said Saturday that during a telephone conversation with Tang on May 7, Tanaka promised not to issue further entry visas to Lee.

Lee made a five-day visit to Japan in late April, during which he underwent an angioplasty operation to widen clogged heart arteries at a hospital in Kurashiki, some 170 km west of Osaka.

The visit drew vehement protests from China, which claims Lee uses overseas trips to campaign against China’s avowed goal of reunification with Taiwan.

Abe said that he believed that Tanaka only told Tang that Japan will deal prudently with the issue, respecting the 1972 Japan-China joint statement with which the two countries restored bilateral relations.

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