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The Latest: China expresses condolences over Nakasone

November 29, 2019 GMT
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FILE - In this May 1, 2015, file photo, former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone delivers a speech during the annual meeting on Japan's constitution reform in Tokyo. Nakasone, a giant of his country’s post-World War II politics, died on Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. He was 101. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)
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FILE - In this May 1, 2015, file photo, former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone delivers a speech during the annual meeting on Japan's constitution reform in Tokyo. Nakasone, a giant of his country’s post-World War II politics, died on Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. He was 101. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on the death of Japan’s former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone (all times local):

6:55 p.m.

China has said that former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone was a “far-sighted senior politician” who made “important contributions to the development of China-Japan relations.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at his daily briefing Friday: “We express deep condolences over his death and sincere sympathies to his family.”

The warmth of the sentiments reflects the mellowing of Chinese anger over Nakasone being the first Japanese leader to pay an official visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors the war dead.

Among those honored there are Japan’s convicted war criminals, many of whom were convicted of committing or ordering atrocities in China.

Visits to the shrine have fueled disputes with China and South Korea over World War II history that persist to this day.

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4:15 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed deep sorrow over the death of former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone and praised him for raising the country’s profile by contributing to global peace and economic order.

Nakasone, a giant of Japanese post-World War II politics, died Friday at age 101.

Abe said Nakasone served at a time when Japan faced severe domestic and diplomatic challenges, including Cold War tensions and trade friction with the United States.

He praised Nakasone for improving relations with other Asian countries while strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance through his personal friendship with former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

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1:15 p.m.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, a giant of his country’s post-World War II politics, has died. He was 101.

The office of his son, Hirofumi Nakasone, confirmed that Nakasone died Friday at a Tokyo hospital, where he was recently treated.

As prime minister from 1982 to 1987, he was a stalwart ally of America known for his warm relations with President Ronald Reagan.

Nakasone boosted defense spending, tried to revise Japan’s U.S.-drafted pacifist constitution and was remembered for his unabashed appeals to patriotism that drew criticism.

A World War II naval officer, Nakasone had witnessed the depth of Japan’s defeat and devastation. Four decades later, he presided over Japan at the pinnacle of its economic success.

He became one of Japan’s leading elder statesmen in his later years. He promoted his ruling party’s longtime goal of revising the constitution and pronounced his views on national and international affairs.