• Kyodo


Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka was to meet Monday morning with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues.

The main topics to be taken up during the 45-minute foreign ministerial meeting at the State Department were likely to include the United States’ missile defense plans, its anticipated involvement in global warming prevention and the U.S. military presence in Okinawa Prefecture.

Much of the attention, however, is focused on whether Tanaka can clear up anxiety on the part of the U.S., said to have been caused by her reported comments that were critical of the proposed National Missile Defense, and smooth the way for the June 30 bilateral summit at Camp David.

Earlier Monday morning, Tanaka was to meet separately for about 30 minutes each with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice at the White House and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick at the USTR office.

Tanaka has also said she wants to hear more from Powell about President George W. Bush’s proposal for a new missile defense scheme aimed at protecting the U.S. and its allies — an initiative about which she is said to have expressed personal doubts in separate talks last month with the foreign ministers of Australia, Germany and Italy.

Tanaka has repeatedly denied media reports that quoted Japanese government sources as saying she made such comments, and claimed that her ministry’s senior bureaucrats are leaking and distorting secret information.

She reiterated Sunday in Philadelphia that she wants to discuss with Powell the various issues in consideration of possible changes in the U.S. government’s stance following Bush’s tour of Europe.

“After President Bush has returned from Europe, I think the situation may have changed from prior to his trip. I want to hear the latest opinions (of the government), and convey our thoughts on them,” Tanaka told reporters accompanying her from Tokyo to the U.S.

She likely had in mind Europe’s reaction toward Bush’s intention to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 international treaty aimed at curbing global warming by cutting industrialized countries’ greenhouse-gas emissions.

Bush reiterated during his tour of European countries that the U.S., the world’s largest emitter of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, will not support the agreement. European Union leaders, however, are intent on adopting the protocol by 2002 even without U.S. participation.

In her first face-to-face meeting with Powell, Tanaka was expected to urge the U.S. military to conduct drills on a rotating basis among Okinawa, Guam, the Philippines and other nearby locations rather than concentrating such activities in Okinawa, where there is a much larger U.S. military presence in comparison with other parts of Japan.

To prepare for the meetings, she canceled some of the events she had planned for an excursion to Philadelphia on Sunday. Tanaka will leave Washington for home shortly after noon Monday after holding a news conference.

Bush and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi are scheduled to hold talks at the presidential retreat in Maryland at the end of this month.

U.K., France on agenda

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will visit British and French leaders after meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush later this month, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda announced Monday.

During his first trip abroad since he took the helm, Koizumi will hold a summit with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on July 2 after meeting with the U.S. leader June 30, the top government spokesman said.

Koizumi will then visit France to hold separate meetings with French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Lionel Jospin on July 3 and 4, he said.

Koizumi will leave June 29 and is expected to return on the morning of July 5, Fukuda said.

The prime minister and foreign leaders are expected to discuss bilateral relations and international political situations, Fukuda said.

Koizumi will hold a meeting with Bush at Camp David, Md., to explain the basic outline of his economic and fiscal policies, and convey his determination to carry out structural reforms of Japan’s economy, government sources said.

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