• Kyodo News

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Prime Minister Naoto Kan expressed his willingness Thursday night to attend the World Economic Forum to be held in the Swiss resort of Davos from Jan. 26 to 30, one of his deputies said.

“If my schedule allows me to, including the Diet schedule, I would like to go,” Kan was quoted as saying during a dinner in Tokyo with Yorihiko Kojima, chairman of major trading house Mitsubishi Corp. and cochair of the annual event.

Kojima advised Kan to “talk about protecting free trade” at Davos, which draws political and business leaders from around the world, according to Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama, who attended the dinner event.

Kan exchanged opinions with participants on issues to be discussed at Davos and international affairs, according to the lawmaker.

The regular Diet session will convene in late January.

Last year, former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama did not attend the conference due to his Diet schedule and sent his national policy minister, Yoshito Sengoku, to the forum on his behalf.

Jimi to visit Europe

Financial services minister Shozaburo Jimi will visit Europe starting Sunday to meet with the French finance minister and the head of the Bank of England among others, the government said Friday.

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