Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura is likely to visit the United States around the middle of this week to hold talks with Secretary of State Colin Powell on U.S. military realignment and pending U.S. beef exports to Japan, government sources said Saturday.

Machimura, who succeeded Yoriko Kawaguchi in a Cabinet reshuffle Monday, is also expected to discuss United Nations reform, including Japan’s bid to win a permanent seat on the Security Council, they said.

The United States is planning to realign its military forces worldwide, including those stationed in Japan.

Japan has banned beef imports from the United States after the discovery of the first case of mad cow disease there late last year.

Afterward, Machimura may travel to Hanoi for talks with his counterparts accompanying leaders attending the Asia- Europe summit, which will be held Thursday and Friday, the sources said.

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