The seventh meeting of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development is set to open in Yokohama on Wednesday amid an intensifying race between China and other countries to expand their presence in Africa's rapidly growing economies.

Dozens of top African leaders are coming to Yokohama, but the Foreign Ministry has said it will not release the number of expected African guests coming to the three-day summit meeting. The reason: Tokyo is worried that some leaders may cancel their trip right before the summit because of direct or indirect pressure from China, a senior Foreign Ministry official said recently.

"You can't tell how many leaders will come until TICAD starts," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.