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Tamisuke Watanuki, speaker of the House of Representatives, left for Canada on Friday to attend the first meeting of lower house chairs from the Group of Eight industrial countries.

In a speech to be delivered Monday, Watanuki is expected to emphasize the necessity for lawmakers from each country to establish good relationships in order to expand mutual understanding, Japanese government sources said.

He is also expected to cite the efforts of a Japanese cross-party group of lawmakers to normalize diplomatic ties with North Korea and to learn the fate of Japanese believed abducted by North Korean agents as an example of the importance of diplomacy on the part of lawmakers, they said.

But he will also point out how opposition lawmakers in Japan sometimes misuse diplomacy in domestic power games, attacking the ruling coalition and the government at meetings with overseas lawmakers.

Watanuki, 75, was a leader of Ryutaro Hashimoto’s faction within the Liberal Democratic Party before becoming Lower House speaker and served as LDP secretary general.

He also plans to say he agrees with Gennadli Seleznev, chairman of the Russian lower chamber, that Japan and Russia need to promote a bilateral relationship of trust through exchanges of lawmakers so they are able to settle the territorial row over four islands off Hokkaido that are held by Russia but claimed by Japan.

The conference of lower house chairs from the G8 nations was proposed by Canada and is being held in Kingston, Ontario, from Sunday to Tuesday.

The first meeting will focus on diplomacy by lawmakers and terrorism.

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