• Kyodo

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British Prime Minister Tony Blair wrapped up a three-day visit to Japan on Sunday in this hot-spring resort town near Mount Fuji.

Blair and his wife Cherie had Japanese tea with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at a hotel before leaving for Tokyo’s Haneda airport to catch a plane to South Korea.

The three were warmly greeted by a crowd of people as they left the hotel.

During their summit Saturday, the two leaders agreed on the importance of starting five-way talks including Japan and South Korea to peacefully resolve the issue of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Blair’s visit to Japan came amid a firestorm of criticism at home sparked when a British defense adviser — at the center of a controversy over government intelligence — was found dead Friday in a wooded area in Britain after he was reported missing by his family.

Koizumi threw his full support behind Blair, saying his decision to take part in the war against Iraq was correct and courageous.

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