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Chinese leader seeks Japanese help on environment

Chinese President Hu Jintao. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Kawasaki, Japan (AFP) May 9, 2008
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Friday voiced hope that Japan would share environmental technology with his country as he toured a state-of-the-art recycling factory.

Hu, on a rare visit to Japan to mend ties between Asia's two largest economies, visited the Kawasaki PET Bottle Recycling Factory near Tokyo which processes used bottles and electronics devices.

"We want to introduce Japan's advanced technology on the environment to China," Hu said, adding that his administration will focus on green businesses.

China's pollution has been rapidly growing as its economy soars, posing particular concern for neighbours such as Japan and South Korea.

Hu and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda had agreed Wednesday to work together to fight global warming in a summit that focused mostly on general themes of reconciliation.

The two countries have long had tense relations, in part due to the legacy of Japanese aggression in China before World War II.

Hu wound up his time in Tokyo on Friday by meeting with Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, who in an unusual step went to his hotel to bid farewell to Hu and his wife, Liu Yongqing.

Hu later visited a Chinese school in Yokohama, Japan's second most populous city which has a large Chinese community. He was welcomed with a traditional lion dance and Chinese songs.

Hu also met with a group of Japanese lawmakers supporting the Beijing Olympics, which has become a lightning rod for global criticism over China's rights record and treatment of restive Tibet.

"The Beijing Olympics are not only for the Chinese people but also for people in Asia, including Japan, and around the world," Hu told lower house Speaker Yohei Kono, who heads the group.

Chinese star hurdler Liu Xiang, one of his country's main hopes for Olympic gold, saluted Hu as he prepared for Saturday's Grand Prix in the western metropolis of Osaka.

"His visit to Japan helped deepen friendship between China and Japan," Liu said.

Hu later headed to Osaka for talks with business leaders. He was due to visit historic temples in the western town of Nara on Saturday before flying home.

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