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2november20096Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama sent a message to the visiting Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama through a group of Japanese lawmakers Sunday saying he is hoping to meet with His Holiness again, group sources said. Hatoyama avoided directly meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, apparently considering Japanese relations with China, which sees the Buddhist leader as a separatist trying to tear Tibet from Chinese rule. But the message may draw criticism from China.

Before becoming prime minister in September following a historic victory in the general election, Hatoyama met His Holiness the Dalai Lama in November 2007 as secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan and expressed support for ‘‘high autonomy'' for Tibet. His Holiness the Dalai Lama received Hatoyama's message from a bipartisan group of Japanese lawmakers on the Tibetan issue, headed by DPJ member Seishu Makino, at a Tokyo hotel.

Noble Peace laureate, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said he has sent a personal letter to Hatoyama to celebrate his inauguration as prime minister, according to the sources.

According to Kyodo News, His Holiness the Dalai Lama thanked the Prime Minister for the message and told the lawmakers he was pleased that Hatoyama, with whom he has met several times, has become prime minister.

Hatoyama was appointed as prime minister in August, replacing Liberal Democrat Taro Aso, and has been in office since 16 September.

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