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China, Japan agree to postpone head of Japan coalition partner visit -Chinese ministry

Party leaders debate ahead of the Upper House election in Japan

BEIJING (Reuters) -China's foreign ministry said on Monday that China and Japan have agreed to postpone a visit by the head of Japan's Komeito party, the junior partner in the coalition government, given current strains between the two countries.

Natsuo Yamaguchi was planning to visit China from Aug. 28 to 30 in hopes of meeting China's President Xi Jinping and to hand over a personal letter from Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

"In light of current China-Japan relations, the two sides have agreed to postpone the Komeito delegation's visit to China," ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a regular news briefing.

Wang added that China attached great importance to exchanges and cooperation with the party which has long been committed to promoting friendship between China and Japan, and "stands ready to work with it to make active efforts for improving and growing China-Japan relations".

Despite opposition both within Japan and from abroad, the country began releasing treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific last week.

China has strongly opposed the move and banned all aquatic product imports from Japan.

Japan summoned the Chinese ambassador on Monday after various offices received what it called harassing phone calls from China regarding the release of the treated water.

Further straining Sino-Japanese ties, Kishida and the leaders of the United States and South Korea met last week and issued their strongest joint condemnation yet of China's "dangerous and aggressive behaviour" in the South China Sea.

(Reporting by Andrew Hayley and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Hugh Lawson)