Former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone on Thursday denied claims that China and Japan had concluded an informal agreement in 1985 that top Japanese government leaders would not visit Yasukuni Shrine.

Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi had stated Wednesday that the two countries had concluded a “gentleman’s agreement” of this kind following Nakasone’s 1985 visit to Yasukuni. Under the alleged deal, Japan’s prime minister, chief Cabinet secretary and foreign minister would refrain from going to the Shinto shrine in Tokyo.

“It goes completely against the facts,” Nakasone told reporters at his office in Tokyo. “We never had that kind of agreement. Perhaps it is a mistaken memory on the part of the ambassador.”

Nakasone said he phoned the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo to lodge a protest against Wang’s remarks, made during a speech at the Liberal Democratic Party’s headquarters in Tokyo.

Asked whether there was consent between Japanese and Chinese diplomats on the matter, Nakasone firmly denied there was any such arrangement.

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