Fukuda's Last Stand

From Left: Xinhua / Landov; Rao Aimin—Xinhua / sipa

Japan's PM Yasuo Fukuda, left, needs to win friends. The Tokyo visit will be a first for China's President Hu Jintao

Diplomatic visits by heads of state are mostly symbolic affairs, concerned less with ironing out differences than with paying respects in a formal, stylized setting. In that sense, China President Hu Jintao's upcoming trip to Japan — the first by a Chinese head of state since 1998 — is expected to be run of the mill. The meticulously scripted itinerary calls for Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to play host as Hu strolls through Yokohama's Chinatown, visits temples in Nara and dines at the Imperial Palace. On May 8 at Waseda University in Tokyo, Fukuda's alma mater, the two...

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