President Jiang has set up a special team to study the candidates who might succeed Prime Minister Obuchi should he fall from power in the next general election, expected within a year. Similar teams have been appointed to gauge the policy orientations of the likely successors of Russian leader Boris Yeltsin and United States President Bill Clinton. Diplomatic sources in Beijing and Tokyo said Mr Jiang had pulled together an unprecedented group of foreign-policy advisers from departments in the areas of diplomacy, security, defence, economic affairs and foreign trade. An inter-departmental task force to study Mr Jiang's trip to Japan was established about five months ago. Smaller groups were also set up to study specific topics. They include the joint statement to be signed at the summit with Mr Obuchi; the US-Japan security arrangement and its impact on China; Sino-Japan economic co-operation; and ways and means to 'oblige' the Obuchi Government to make a stand on the so-called 'three nos policy' against Taiwan independence. Another inter-departmental task force handles the impact of Mr Jiang's diplomatic activities and achievements on domestic opinion, including the President's stature with the party, Government and the army. Mr Jiang's diplomatic team and travelling entourage also includes image and public relations consultants who pay special attention to how Mr Jiang appears on television. 'Compared with his predecessors, Jiang pays a lot more attention to the political dynamics - including the state of opposition parties - in the countries he is focusing on,' an Asian diplomat said. Tomorrow, Mr Jiang will meet leaders from six parties, including the Japan Communist Party. 'Jiang's experts are already studying the effect on Sino-Japanese relations if a certain upcoming political force in Japan is to come to the fore,' said the diplomat. Apart from Vice-Premier Qian Qichen and Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, Mr Jiang's top advisers on international strategy include 'the two Zengs': alternate member of the Politburo Zeng Qinghong and Minister at the State Development Planning Commission Zeng Peiyan. Both Zengs will be members of the 12-member China team at the summit with Mr Obuchi this afternoon. Two other important members of Mr Jiang's brain trusts, Wang Huning and Liu Ji, have not travelled with him.