Japan's former premier Koizumi absent at breakfast with China's Hu

Other News Materials 8 May 2008 09:56 (UTC +04:00)

Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao met with Japan's former prime ministers on Thursday and was to give a speech at a university in Tokyo later in the day, the dpa reported.

On his third day in Japan, Hu met with former prime ministers Yasuhiro Nakasone and Shinzo Abe, but Abe's predecessor Junichiro Koizumi was conspicuously absent from the breakfast table.

Koizumi's repeated visits to Yasukuni Shrine angered China, South Korea and other Asian nations that suffered Japan's atrocities during World War II. The shrine honours war dead, including war criminals.

The visits soured regional relationships and triggered protests in China and elsewhere in East Asia.

Hu's arrival marks the first visit in Japan by a Chinese head of state in 10 years.

Former prime minister Abe said at the meeting he hoped the human rights of the Tibetan people would improve because of the Beijing Olympics.

The Chinese president on Wednesday held summit talks with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.

Although they failed to reach a settlement over development rights to natural resources in the East China Sea Wednesday, the summit meeting was seen as making progress because the two nations recognized each other as important partners and agreed to cooperate for long-lasting peace and friendship, Mainichi Shimbun said Thursday.

Hu was to give a speech at Waseda University in Tokyo later on Thursday.