Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka said Tuesday she is awaiting Diet approval for a visit to Washington on Monday, during which she would hold her first talks with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
“The U.S. has proposed dates (for the meeting), and finally, it was decided on (June) 18,” she told a news conference.
Tanaka had expressed hope that she could visit the United States to meet her counterpart before the Japan-U.S. summit scheduled for June 30, but because both she and Powell have tight schedules such a trip was considered problematic.
Some leaders of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party have also opposed a Tanaka U.S. visit because of controversies surrounding her reported remarks criticizing the U.S. missile defense plans.
However, sources said Tanaka instructed Shunji Yanai, Japan’s ambassador to the U.S., to work again to arrange a meeting with Powell, saying she wants to explain to him her opinions on missile defense as well as issues over the U.S. military in Okinawa.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and President George W. Bush are to meet at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md., a day after the current Diet session ends.
Tanaka stirred up controversy last month when she failed to meet with Deputy U.S. Secretary of State Richard Armitage during his visit to Tokyo for discussions on missile defense.
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