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The real source of controversy over Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s repeated visits to Yasukuni Shrine is the fact that Class-A war criminals are being honored along with Japan’s war dead, Wang Yi, China’s envoy to Japan, said Thursday.

Wang made the statement during talks with Democratic Party of Japan chief Katsuya Okada.

“The issue of the Class-A war criminals is the real problem, even greater than the fact that visits to Yasukuni were made,” Wang Yi was quoted by DPJ lawmakers as telling Okada.

Wang held a separate meeting the same day with Liberal Democratic Party policy chief Kaoru Yosano, who said the LDP and its ruling coalition ally, New Komeito, hope to send a delegation to China to meet with Chinese Communist Party leaders later this month.

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