• Kyodo News

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Japan told China last week that an exceptional Imperial audience for Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping would be difficult due to Emperor Akihito’s health, then two days later announced the meeting would take place, sources said Monday, giving rise to speculation that senior ruling party kingpin Ichiro Ozawa pressured the government to do so prior to his visit to China.

The government conveyed its initial decision Dec. 9 but soon reversed it, announcing Friday that the Emperor would meet with Xi on Tuesday.

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