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China Urges Koizumi Not to Visit Shrine


China is urging Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi not to visit a controversial war shrine, amid speculation he will do so next week.

China's foreign ministry said Friday that Beijing hopes Japan's leaders will be responsible toward history, people and the future.

Japanese media reports have suggested Mr. Koizumi may visit the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo on August 15th to mark the anniversary of the end of World War Two.

Mr. Koizumi has not commented specifically on his plans. Yasukuni honors Japan's war dead, including convicted war criminals.

He has visited the shrine several times since taking office in 2001. The visits have infuriated officials in China and South Korea, who believe the shrine glorifies Japan's wartime past.

Mr. Koizumi says he visits the shrine to pray for peace
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