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Pio d’Emilia, an Italian journalist and long-term Tokyo resident who has been Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s friend for about 20 years, has suddenly been put in the spotlight of the Japanese media for reportedly influencing Kan’s position on nuclear power and his remote connection with an extreme leftist group.

Kan had dinner with d’Emilia, 56, and other people on the night of June 29 at an Italian restaurant in Tokyo’s Roppongi district after the prime minister had earlier gone to a sushi eatery and then to a “yakiniku” Korean barbecue restaurant.

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