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Highest-Ranking Japanese Defense Official Arrives

May 9, 1985

PEKING (AP) _ The highest-ranking Japanese defense official to visit Communist China arrived Thursday for a week-long tour designed to expand military ties between the former enemies.

Haruo Natsume, vice minister of the Japanese Defense Agency, is scheduled to meet Chinese Defense Minister Zhang Aiping and inspect People’s Liberation Army units in Peking, Tianjin, Xian and Shanghai.

The Chinese Defense Ministry said it invited Natsume for a ″friendly visit″ and an exchange of views with Chinese army leaders.

In an arrival statement, Natsume said friendly relations between the two countries and their armies are in the fundamental interests of the Chinese and Japanese peoples and are good for Asia and the world.

The Chinese fought an eight-year war against invading Japanese forces in 1937-45. When Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone visited Peking in March 1984, he vowed that the two countries will ″never go to war again.″

Japan is now China’s biggest trade partner.

A Defense Agency official in Tokyo said Natsume’s talks will touch on Asian peace and stability, Chinese-Soviet relations and the U.S. proposal for a space-based strategic defense.

Update hourly