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Former Japanese PM Toshiki Kaifu passes away******
Former Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu passed away this month, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported on Friday.。
He was 91 years old.。
After the Gulf War, the Japanese Self-Defense Force were deployed to the Gulf region to conduct minesweeping operations during Kaifu's term of office.。
Barca president Laporta highlights good relations with favorite to replace Koeman******
MADRID, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta revealed on Friday that he has been in constant contact with Xavi Hernandez since he was re-elected to the club presidency in March.
Former Barca midfielder Xavi is the favorite to replace Ronald Koeman as first team coach in the wake of Koeman's sacking in the early hour of Thursday morning.
Although Xavi is currently coaching Al-Saad in Qatar, the 41-year-old has always been clear that his ambition is to one day coach the club where he helped establish a style of play.
"I have been talking with Xavi since the electoral campaign and contact has never been broken... They are private conversations between friends," commented Laporta, who was speaking at the presentation of Barca's B-team coach Sergi Barjuan as caretaker coach.
Laporta said he had "very good references from people who are very close" to Xavi. "I know what he thinks of the team we have and what he wants to do."
"I have always said that Xavi will train Barca one day. He is a person who lives for football, he belongs to Barca and he has it as a priority objective in his life. What I think is that I have a very good relationship with him and that he is surrounded by excellent people," said the Barca president.
Sergi will be in charge until Xavi (or someone else) takes over, with his first game at home to Alaves on Saturday night.
Barca will be without midfielder Pedri and forward Martin Braithwaite, while Ronald Araujo, Ansu Fati and Sergi Roberto are all doubts.
"I'm taking over at a difficult moment, but we are already working and it's easy to work with players like this," said Sergi, adding that he wouldn't try to make big changes to the team.
"We have to get the players going and we have to be united for tomorrow... The way we play won't change but, but maybe I will slightly alter some tactical concepts," said Sergi, who explained the side needed to "recover the idea of vertical football." Enditem