• Kyodo

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The twin giant pandas born at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoological Gardens in June have been named Xiao Xiao and Lei Lei, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said Friday.

Their names, when combined, have the meaning of “leading to the future from a bright dawn,” Koike told a news conference. The zoo plans to allow the public to see the pandas from next January.

The births on June 23 of the male panda Xiao Xiao and female panda Lei Lei marked the first time for Japan’s oldest zoo to witness the birth of twin pandas.

The two cubs were born to mother Shin Shin and her mate, Ri Ri, who are also parents to 4-year-old female panda Xiang Xiang. The pair, on loan from China, also had a cub in July 2012, but the cub died six days after its birth due to pneumonia.

The Ueno Zoological Gardens, which opened in 1882, received its first pandas in 1972 from China, in commemoration of the normalization of bilateral ties.

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