Mori to tour G8 nations during Golden Week

Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori will visit the leaders of the other Group of Eight nations during Golden Week to prepare for the G8 summit in Okinawa in July, Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki announced Thursday.

Mori, who took over as prime minister on April 5 after Keizo Obuchi’s stroke, “hopes to build cooperative relations with leaders of the G8 countries through visits before the Okinawa summit,” Aoki said.

Mori will leave for Russia on April 28 and will hold informal talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin the following day in St. Petersburg, Aoki said.

The prime minister will then meet his Italian counterpart in Rome on May 2, followed by a meeting with French President Jacques Chirac in Paris in the evening.

Mori will meet with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin on the afternoon of May 3 and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London later the same day.

He will then fly to Ottawa on May 4 to meet with his Canadian counterpart, Jean Chretien. Mori will hold talks with U.S. President Bill Clinton in Washington on May 5.

Mori is scheduled to return to Japan on May 6.

In his first policy speech in the Diet earlier this month, Mori said he intends to “work on establishing close relations of trust with other (G8) leaders before the summit takes place.”

The July 21-23 summit will be held in the resort city of Nago in Okinawa.