Off-hand remark

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(First Edition)

A local assemblyman said a remark about feeling tainted when shaking hands with a black person, had been taken out of context and no offence was intended, AP reports from Tokyo.

Masao Kokubo said he was referring to his experiences 30 years ago as a student in London. 'In the beginning, I felt uncomfortable and weird shaking hands with blacks, but once you become friends, it's normal,' he said.