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Japan eager to establish stronger ties with Obama


Tokyo : The Japanese government plans to set up a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Taro Aso and US President Barack Obama at an early date before the financial summit scheduled in April, Japanese media reports said Wednesday.

After the president’s inauguration ceremony, Japan’s Aso administration was hoping to strengthen the Japan-US alliance and seek cooperation in resolving the global financial crisis as well as assistance in fight against terrorism in Afghanistan.

“Japan and the United States are allies sharing universal values and strategic interests,” Aso said in his statement issued Wednesday.

“I am confident that Japan and the United States, which are in the position of leading the world, can create a better future, by putting together our expertise, will, passion and strategy,” the premier said.

Meanwhile, the nation’s main opposition Democratic Party of Japan was also planning to send a delegation to meet with the US Vice President Joseph Biden in February or March upon request from Washington, according to The Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

The party, which aims to win the next general election, hoped that Obama’s leadership would influence Japan’s public into seeking change in the nation’s leadership.

“The current politics has not been able to provide any effective solution to the problems,” party President Ichiro Ozawa said. “We very much believe that (Obama’s presidency) would lead Japanese people to realize we also need change, reform and old style of politics.”

Concerns spread, however, that Obama with limited experiences in the central government lacks personal contact in Japan’s politics and business sector, Japan’s daily The Yomiuri Shimbun said in the morning edition.

Japan has expressed concerns as to whether Washington would continue to cooperate in pressuring North Korea to resolve abduction cases of Japanese citizens.