Report: PLO Leader To Attend Hirohito Funeral
MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) _ Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasser Arafat will attend the Feb. 24 funeral of Japan’s Emperor Hirohito, a Persian Gulf newspaper reported today.
The Abu Dhabi-based Al-Ittihad said Arafat also will meet with several Arab and foreign leaders in Tokyo for the funeral.
The report could not immediately be confirmed.
In Tokyo, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said it had not heard that Arafat was coming or had asked to come to the funeral.
Japan does not recognize the newly declared Palestinian state. Therefore, the Foreign Ministry did not tell the PLO office in Tokyo that it was welcome to send a national representative, which it did for all countries having diplomatic ties with Japan.
The Foreign Ministry said if Japan received word that the PLO wanted to send a delegation to the funeral, such a delegation would ″not be treated as a governmental one.″
Representatives of more than 100 countries will be present at the funeral, including President Bush.
Arafat was flying from Tunis to Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, where his elder brother Jamal died early today, the Palestianian news agency WAFA reported.
Jamal Arafat, 72, the Palestinian diplomatic representative in Yemen, was hospitalized in Riyadh after suffering a heart attack Thursday in San’a, the capital of Yemen, the agency said.