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Enrique Iglesias, president of the Inter-American Development Bank, said Monday he supports Japan’s bid to hold the 2005 annual meeting of the bank in Okinawa, Finance Ministry officials said.

He voiced his support during a meeting in Tokyo with Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa.

Iglesias, who visited Okinawa on Sunday, told Shiokawa he found the people there friendly, the officials said.

Tokyo has been seeking to host the 2005 IDB meeting in Okinawa as part of a drive to boost that prefecture’s economy.

The IDB is expected to decide on the 2005 venue at its next annual meeting, in March. The bank, established in 1959, issues loans to Latin American and Caribbean countries for development purposes.

If the meeting is in Okinawa, it would be the second IDB gathering in Japan following one in Nagoya in 1991.

The government expects about 5,000 people from around 50 member states of the bank to attend the 2005 meeting. Two potential host cities of the event are Naha, the prefectural capital, and Ginowan.

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