Source AP ©

Dalai Lama to make nine-day tour in Japan

In spite of China’s protests over his visits overseas, the Dalai Lama began his nine-day trip throughout Japan.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, who flew to Tokyo on a commercial flight from India, is scheduled to attend a Buddhist conference in nearby Yokohama , give a lecture at a university in the western city of Ise and visit a high school in the capital, according to his office in Tokyo. No major event is scheduled for Thursday.

Top Japanese government officials are not expected to meet with the 72-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate during his trip, according to the Foreign Ministry.

China has ruled Tibet with a heavy hand since its Communist-led forces invaded in 1951, and accused the Buddhist monk of defying its sovereignty by pushing for independence for Tibet.

The Dalai Lama, who lives with followers in exile in India, says he wants "real autonomy" for Tibet. Still, Beijing has routinely criticized his frequent visits abroad, saying foreign governments are interfering in its internal affairs by hosting him.

Japan is allowing his visit on the condition he avoids political activity.

The Dalai Lama's recent meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President George W. Bush have drawn rebukes from Chinese officials.

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