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NIIGATA (Kyodo) Koichi Haraguchi, grand master of ceremonies at the Imperial Household Agency, died Sunday while mountain climbing in Niigata Prefecture, police said. He was 68.

Haraguchi, a former top Foreign Ministry negotiator on North Korean issues, collapsed and fell unconscious near the 1,963-meter summit of Mount Amakazari and was confirmed dead after his body was carried to a hospital by helicopter.

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