BEIJING (Kyodo) Regardless of who will succeed Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi when he steps down in September, the Chinese will likely pay close attention to one point — whether the new leader will visit Yasukuni Shrine.

Chinese experts underscored the importance of the issue in recent interviews, saying trips to the Tokyo shrine, which China sees as a symbol of Japan’s militarist past, remain the biggest obstacle in ties between the two countries.

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