Gore to visit Japan later this month

U.S. Vice President Al Gore will visit Japan on March 23 and 24 to discuss a wide range of bilateral and Asian issues with Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and other leaders, Foreign Ministry officials said Mar. 11.

The visit will be the second in recent weeks by a key member of President Bill Clinton’s administration; Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was here last month. Hashimoto and Gore are expected to discuss the touchy issue of land leases in Okinawa Prefecture, involving 12 U.S. military bases and about 3,000 landowners. The leases expire in May.

Hashimoto will probably tell Gore that Tokyo will make its utmost efforts in the situation and allow the U.S. forces to continue using the land in accordance with the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. Gore also will meet with Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda. Ikeda and Gore may discuss the issue surrounding Japan’s port practices.