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Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi left Japan on Sunday for a four-day trip to France to pay a courtesy call on French President Jacques Chirac and meet with her French counterpart Dominique de Villepin.

Kawaguchi will exchange opinions on international issues such as the latest developments involving North Korea and Iraq during her Monday meetings with Chirac and de Villepin, Foreign Ministry officials said. She will also discuss bilateral issues.

Later that day, Kawaguchi will meet with French Economy, Finance and Industry Minister Francis Mer. She is scheduled to leave Paris Tuesday to return home Wednesday morning, the officials said.

Kawaguchi’s visit to France will be a significant opportunity for the two countries to coordinate on key international issues as France is chair of the U.N. Security Council in January and of the Group of Eight nations this year, the officials said.

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