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Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is planning to visit Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan starting in late April, Japanese government sources said Tuesday, in an apparent effort to counter growing Chinese clout in Central Asia.

Tokyo also plans to host a meeting of foreign ministers from five countries in the region, also involving Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, by the end of June to discuss measures to enhance their economic relations, the sources said.

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