• Kyodo

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Tsutomu Kawara, a Japanese lawmaker, was elected to the executive committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union on Friday. The IPU is a Geneva-based organization set up to promote exchanges among lawmakers around the world.

Kawara, a member of Japan’s House of Representatives and a former director general of the Defense Agency, was elected for a four-year term to one of the three Asia-Pacific slots on the 15-member IPU executive committee.

He is the first Japanese to serve on the committee in eight years.

The IPU, meeting on the last day of a three-day annual assembly, voted Friday to bar the United States from taking part in its activities.

The U.S. has refused to pay its dues to the IPU since 1997. U.S. lawmakers have refused to take part in IPU activities since 1995, partly in protest at IPU resolutions criticizing the United States and Israel over Palestinian issues.

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