Brazil’s Rousseff cancels Japan visit

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will postpone her planned visit to Japan due to the mass protests breaking out in dozens of cities around her nation, officials in Tokyo said Friday.

Rousseff’s trip was scheduled to run from next Wednesday to Friday and included talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters have flooded Brazilian cities to show their frustration over surging inflation, bus fare hikes, massive public spending on the 2014 World Cup and other issues.

The Brazilian government “told us there is no choice but to postpone the visit, given various demonstrations taking place in the country,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference. “We have invited the president to visit Japan. We’d like to reschedule it.”

The Brazilian government notified the Japanese Embassy in Sao Paulo of its intension to postpone the visit early Friday Japan time, officials said.

Rousseff and Abe were scheduled to meet Wednesday, during which they were expected to agree to accelerate talks on a nuclear cooperation accord, among other topics.

Such a pact would allow Japanese firms to export nuclear power plant equipment and technology to Brazil.

Brazil currently operates two reactors and is reportedly considering more to secure a stable power supply.

Talks were started in January 2011 for an accord for peaceful use of nuclear technology, but they have been suspended since the Fukushima crisis broke out that March.