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Thursday, 8th May 2008
In General Japan News,

Tokyo welcomes Hu with Tibet protest

Chinese president Hu Jintao made history this by making the first state visit to Japan in a decade– but his arrival was met by wide demonstrations over Tibet.

The Save Tibet Network drew more than 1,000 people to its Tokyo protest, adding to the global movement calling for Tibetan rights in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

Relations between Japan and China have recently been frosty - with Tibet another issue dividing the two nations – but the Chinese president's visit is intended to heal the rift and lead to practical talks.

Global warming, food safety and east China Sea oil exploration are likely to be on the agenda as Hu meets prime minister Yasuo Fukuda, the Japanese emperor and a host of business leaders.

While the Japanese government claims to be pleased with China's moves towards dialogue over Dalai Lama, no concessions were enough to stop the Free Tibet movement taking hold in Tokyo.

According to the Kyodo news agency, Seishu Makino, chairman of the Save Tibet Network, said: "We gathered here to vent our soulful, angry and true call to Hu Jintao, to have China reverse its erroneous policy to rule Tibet for 50 years, and call on China to peacefully resolve Tibetan issues."

China and Japan have marked the visit of the Chinese premier to Tokyo by signing a "future-oriented" joint statement to bring the countries more closely together.