French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin will make his first official visit to Japan in mid-December for talks with Japanese leaders on international issues and ways to further strengthen bilateral relations, government sources said Monday.

Jospin’s visit was originally set for the end of February, but it was canceled at the last minute due to an extraordinary summit of top EU leaders.

The governments of both countries have since been discussing a rescheduled visit for the earliest possible date.

Although a specific date has yet to be fixed, Jospin is likely to arrive in Tokyo around Dec. 16, one day after the planned closing of the extraordinary Diet session to open Friday, the sources said.

Jospin will stay in Japan for a few days and will meet with Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and other political and business leaders to exchange views on bilateral and international topics, the sources said.

Obuchi last held talks with Jospin when he visited France as part of a three-
nation European tour in January, which also took him to Germany and Italy.

At that time, Obuchi and Jospin agreed that Japan and France would issue one-year, working-holiday visas to each other’s young adults aged between 18 and 30.

During his visit, the French prime minister is expected to call for a further strengthening of bilateral economic relations, especially through accelerated private-sector Japanese investments in France, according to the sources.

During his meeting with Jospin, meanwhile, Obuchi is expected to seek French cooperation in making a success of the next annual Group of Eight summit in Okinawa in July, the sources said.

The G8 comprises the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Russia. France will take over the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union in July.

Jospin’s visit will be preceded by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s three-day official visit to Japan, which begins Sunday. Illegal alien asks permission to remain with nisei spouse

A Bangladeshi man who overstayed his visa visited the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau on Monday to ask the justice minister for special permission to stay in Japan because he is married to a Brazilian nisei — a descendent of a Japanese immigrant — with a permanent residence visa.

The 30-year-old man braved the risk of deportation to apply for special status.

Special permission by the minister generally has been granted to foreigners overstaying their visas who have Japanese relatives mainly through marriage.

A lawyer supporting the Bangladeshi man’s quest for special permission to stay has yet to confirm if this has been granted to anyone married to a foreigner who has only permanent residence status.

The man came in 1988 on a short-term visa and has worked in Japan since December 1991 without valid legal status to remain here, according to his application for special status.

He married last December and his marriage papers were accepted by the Urawa Municipal Office in Saitama Prefecture, according to the application.

He decided to apply for special status because he wants to reside with his wife in Japan, the form said.

On Sept. 1, 21 illegal foreign workers and family members, including eight minors, visited the immigration bureau as part of an appeal for amnesty. The same group also visited the Justice Ministry last week to submit a written petition urging they be granted special permission to stay in the country.

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