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Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe criticized a high-ranking Chinese official Thursday by calling his reported remarks about Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi “inappropriate” for someone of his political status.

Abe bashed State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, the former Chinese foreign minister, who reportedly told Japanese lawmaker Takeshi Noda in Beijing on Wednesday that there is little chance of improving strained ties as long as Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi stays in office.

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