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Clearly overcome by the excitment of meeting her idol, one young admirer receives a warm hug from the pop icon
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Sporting his hallmark sunglasses and leather jacket, Michael addresses crowds during celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of his hit album Thriller

Emotional welcome for Michael from Japanese fans

12 MARCH 2007

There was no mistaking the continued enthusiasm of Japan's Michael Jackson fans as they welcomed their idol to Tokyo at the weekend. And the feeling was clearly reciprocated, with the 48-year-old singer - who has described Japan as his "most favourite place in the world" - warmly embracing one emotional youngster at one of a series of events to mark the 25th anniversary of his hit album Thriller.

At a lavish VIP party 500 revellers, including 100 orphans, clamoured to shake hands with the guest of honour and have their photograph taken with their hero.

The shy star, who was making his second trip to the Asian country in less than a year, also stopped by to say hi to US troops and their families based at a US Army facility just south of Tokyo.

Clad in his hallmark sunglasses and leather jacket, Michael clasped hands with servicemen and spoke of his appreciation of the role they play. "Those of you here today are some of the most special people in the world," said the singer, adding: "It is because of you... and others who so valiantly have given their lives to protect us, that we enjoy our freedom."

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