Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, meeting Sunday with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in Tokyo, called for active engagement on the part of the United Nations in Iraq’s reconstruction, Japanese officials said.

Annan, who arrived Saturday for a five-day visit, expressed support for the government’s efforts to resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea.

On Iraq, Kawaguchi told reporters after the meeting that she stressed the importance of U.N. engagement while explaining Japan’s financial assistance for the rehabilitation of Iraq.

Japan has said it hopes the U.N. will play an active role in the process of handing over power to the Iraqi people.

Annan told reporters that unity in the international community is essential for reconstruction of the war-torn country.

Annan said he told Kawaguchi details about the results of a recent U.N. fact-finding mission led by his special envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, on Iraq’s political situation. He said he would issue a report on the matter Monday.

The Japanese officials later said Annan repeated that it will be difficult to hold direct general elections before the proposed June 30 transfer of power to Iraqis by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, but that it is necessary to hand over power as scheduled.

On North Korea, Kawaguchi said she explained the position Japan will take at the next round of six-nation talks in Beijing that starts Wednesday, namely that Japan will continue to urge North Korea to dismantle its nuclear arms program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.

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