China's Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Qishan, the head of China's anti-corruption watchdog, attends the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing. Photo: Reuters/Jason Lee

Japan’s Asahi Shimbun is reporting that Chinese President Xi Jinping is letting go of his close aide and anti-corruption inquisitor Wang Qishan.

Wang will step down as secretary of the Central Committee for Discipline Inspection at the 19th Communist Party National Congress in October, the Japanese newspaper said, quoting sources close to the committee.

Xi’s key man will also likely retire as a Politburo Standing Committee member, according to several Communist Party sources.

Standing Committee members usually retire when they reach 68. Wang is 69.

Xi reportedly tried to keep his powerful sidekick in the post to solidify his grasp on power. But analysts say he will be forced out as objections are being raised by high-ranking party officials who opposed making an exception in the age rules for Wang.

Speculation about Wang’s political future has been mounting in the international press as the all-important party congress approaches.

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