TOKYO -- The Tsuru banquet room at the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo is decorated with images of Japanese cranes in flight. The white-feathered bird is regarded in Japan as a symbol of longevity and faithfulness, and formerly featured on the most common bank note, the 1,000 yen bill; tsuru no hitokoe -- "the crane's word" -- is a Japanese proverb for a decisive intervention from an authoritarian figure. Its broad wings often carry it across great distances.
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