• Kyodo


France is working with the Japanese government to establish a second action program to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries, President Jacques Chirac said Wednesday.

Chirac disclosed the policy initiative in a meeting with Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), and urged business leaders of both countries to take part in the project.

The first action program was established in 1996 under an agreement Chirac concluded with then Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto to expand bilateral relations, from political exchanges to economic and cultural ties.

Citing the success of the first program, Chirac said the two countries should widen the scope of cooperation, and he singled out investment, environmental research and global trade talks under way at the World Trade Organization as new areas for bilateral cooperation.

Chirac also indicated that France would talk with Japan about social welfare matters, noting that like Japan, France also is facing structural issues.

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