Schroeder may pay visit to Japan before year’s end

Kyodo

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi here Thursday that he is willing to visit Japan by the end of the year.

Koizumi and Schroeder, meeting on the sidelines of the Group of Eight summit in the U.S. state of Georgia, agreed that the two countries will step up cooperation on the reconstruction of Iraq under the new interim government, a senior Japanese official said.

The two leaders also reaffirmed their cooperation in urging North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions, after Koizumi briefed Schroeder on his talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on May 22 in Pyongyang, the official said.

Schroeder said Germany is considering strengthening support for the rebuilding of Afghanistan. Koizumi welcomed the idea and said Japan is also considering extending as much support as possible to Afghanistan.

On the subject of the United Nations, Koizumi was quoted as telling Schroeder: “We welcome Germany’s aggressive stance for reform of the United Nations. We want to cooperate with Germany to realize the reform.”

Schroeder was quoted as saying that the so-called enemy state clauses in the U.N. Charter are not consistent with the financial contributions Germany and Japan make to the world body, a senior Japanese official said.