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OSAKA (Kyodo) Osaka Gov. Toru Hashimoto left Tuesday for Shanghai to promote tourism to Osaka Prefecture at the ongoing world expo.

Hashimoto will then visit Beijing to ask China to relocate its consulate general to the Osaka Bay area, where he is aiming to move the prefectural government office as part of urban revitalization, according to local officials.

Hashimoto said at Kansai International Airport his visit to China “will be a message that Osaka regards China as an important partner.”

At the Shanghai World Expo on Wednesday, Hashimoto is to pitch Osaka by hosting a traditional bon odori summer festival at the Osaka pavilion, where he will dance to the tune of “Kawachi Ondo,” a traditional folk song from Osaka Prefecture, the officials said.

He is aiming to boost the number of Chinese visiting Osaka following the easing of visa regulations on July 1 for individual Chinese tourists.

Hashimoto may also meet with Osaka Mayor Kunio Hiramatsu at the festival. The two leaders continue to disagree over a proposal to reorganize administrative units in the prefecture. Hashimoto has said he wants to have an in-depth talk with Hiramatsu, if possible, to go over their differences.

In Beijing, Hashimoto will ask China to relocate the consulate from its current site in Nishi Ward to Osaka Bay.

Hashimoto will also meet with former Chinese State Councilor and former Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, who serves as an honorary adviser to the China-Japan Friendship Association, before returning to Japan on Saturday.

The expo opened May 1 and will run through Oct. 31. The world fair is expected to attract about 70 million visitors from China and abroad.

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