TOKYO -- In a move giving Beijing its second major diplomatic triumph in two days, the Japanese government yesterday approved sending Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to China in October.
It will be the first time in the two countries' 2,000-year history that a Japanese monarch has been to China. The breakthrough came just one day after China and South Korea established diplomatic relations.
The Chinese government is seeking to end all vestiges of diplomatic isolation stemming from its bloody 1989 crackdown at Tiananmen Square. Beijing extended seven separate invitations to the emperor over the past two years.
But the visit was stridently opposed by right-wing members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who do not want to see the emperor apologize for Japanese actions done in the name of his father, Emperor Hirohito, during World War II.