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Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping arrived Monday in Japan where he stressed the importance of the “friendly” ties between China and Japan and vowed to do his best to further develop the relationship.

The visit by Xi, who is expected to succeed Hu Jintao as China’s president in 2012, however, has caused a stir over his planned meeting with Emperor Akihito that was slammed by some as special treatment sidestepping Imperial protocol. But others said the meeting is a way for the Democratic Party of Japan to show respect for Xi as the next leader in Beijing.

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