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Japan’s royals likely to skip Olympics

April 2, 2008

AFP News Article: April 2, 2008

Japan’s Emperor Akihito and other members of the royal family are unlikely to attend the Beijing Olympics amid concerns here about China’s crackdown in Tibet and other issues, a report said Wednesday.The Japanese government thinks it is not a good time for a rare royal visit because of the unrest in Tibet, a recent health scare over Chinese-made “gyoza” dumplings and a spat over disputed gas fields, the Sankei daily said.”We were planning not to ask royals to go even before the gyoza incident (surfaced in January). It is all the more true now that the Tibetan unrest occurred,” it quoted an unnamed government official as saying.

Japanese authorities have confirmed at least 10 people suffered pesticide poisoning after eating tainted dumplings imported from China.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao invited Emperor Akihito and other royals to the opening ceremony of the August Olympics when he visited Japan last year.

The emperor told Wen then that the government decides on the royal family’s foreign trips, a palace spokesman said.

The foreign ministry said no formal decision had been made.

“Nothing has been decided regarding the attendance of dignitaries,” a ministry official said.

The last trip to China by members of Japan’s imperial household was a landmark visit by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in 1992.

China remains deeply resentful over Japan’s brutal occupation from 1931 to 1945, an era in which the Japanese revered Akihito’s father Hirohito as a demigod.

The two countries have recently worked to mend ties, which were strained by former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi’s annual visits to a war shrine in Tokyo, which Beijing regards as a symbol of Japan’s militarist past.

Chinese President Hu Jintao is expected to visit Japan in the coming months.

Hat Tip to News4VIP for bringing this article to TruthHugger. China must be prepared to address world scrutiny about several issues, including environment, food safety and most recently Tibet. It is obvious that China is trying very hard to improve it’s image and conform to main stream attitudes. But, there seems to be an obsession with image regarding Tibet. China has demonstrated that Tibet is its naughty child and has the right to punish its people in any manner they feel necessary. World scrutiny, right or wrong, is a tender spot for Chinese Government. In short, democracy is as democracy does. No country, including the United States, stands as the perfect example of the democratic experiment. However, on the March 2008 World Audit Democracy chart, China still ranks 121 out of 150 for Democracy, 138 for Press Freedom but ranks only 57 for corruption. China falls last for the entire Asia-Pacific section.

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