When reformist Iranian President Mohammad Khatami visits Tokyo later this month, he can expect to receive a special souvenir to take back home: an honorary doctorate.

The honorary degree will be conferred upon the Iranian leader by the Tokyo Institute of Technology, a prestigious state-run university in Meguro Ward, government and university officials said Thursday.

Khatami will be the first foreign government leader to receive an honorary doctorate from the university, which enthusiastically accepts Iranian students, the officials said, requesting anonymity.

Khatami will arrive in Japan for a four-day official visit on Oct. 31 that will be the first by an Iranian president since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

In addition to meeting Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, national business leaders and the Emperor, Khatami will deliver a speech on the theme “Dialogue Among Civilizations and Progress in Science and Technology” at the university, the officials said.

Khatami, a moderate cleric and staunch advocate of greater political and religious freedom, took the helm of the Iranian government in the summer of 1997 after defeating a conservative rival in the presidential election.

The Tokyo Institute of Technology is one of Japan’s most active recruiters of Iranian students, the officials said. At present, there are 10 Iranians studying at the school. “This number may appear small compared with the numbers of Iranian students accepted by some larger Japanese universities, like the University of Tokyo and Waseda University, but I think it is a large number in terms of its proportion to the total number of students,” one university official said.

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