Accessibility links

Dalai Lama Visits Japan Despite China's Objections - 2003-10-31


The Dalai Lama has landed in Japan for a 12-day stay with an agenda geared more toward religion than politics. China, which rules Tibet as an autonomous region, brands the exiled leader a dangerous separatist and discourages countries from welcoming him.

Japan's media reported that a Chinese diplomat here pressured a former lawmaker in August to withdraw the Dalai Lama's invitation, citing undesirable effects on Japan-China relations.

The lawmaker, who is a key member of Japan's Parliamentarian Group for Tibet, rejected the request.

Deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jiro Okuyama, does not think the visit will damage relations, noting this is the Dalai Lama's 12 visit to Japan.

"It has been the constant position of the Japanese government that the questions relating to the status of Tibet is an internal affair of China and there is no change in the position of Japan," he said. "I think that China's concern this time around will not pose any difficulty for the bilateral relations between Japan and China."

The Dalai Lama's agenda includes several speeches and a panel discussion with Nobel Prize-winning physicist Masatoshi Koshiba on religion and science.

The Tibetan Buddhist leader will also make pilgrimages to famous Buddhist temples, as well as visit the Ise Shrine, one of holiest spots of the Shinto faith.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959, after a failed uprising against Chinese communist rule. He currently lives in exile in India.

XS
SM
MD
LG