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Japanese PM to attend ASEM Summit late October


October 7, 2008

Japanese PM to attend ASEM Summit late October
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso is set to attend a summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting, or ASEM, forum to be held in Beijing on October 24-25, JiJi Press quoted government sources as saying Monday.

Aso's visit to Beijing for the ASEM summit had been considered difficult due to political circumstances in Japan. Aso may dissolve the House of Representatives, the powerful lower chamber of the Diet, later this month for a snap election.

However, the government now believes that the prime minister should take part in the meeting at a time when financial system woes are spreading across the globe, the sources said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said at a press conference Monday that economic issues will likely be a major agenda item at the coming ASEM meeting.

Countries participating in the meeting expect Japan to take the initiative in the global effort to solve the financial problem, Kawamura said.

On the sidelines of the ASEM summit, Aso is expected to hold talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, according to the government sources.

Aso and the Chinese leaders are expected to confirm the two countries' intention to strengthen their mutually beneficial strategic relationship, the sources said.

Aso will likely urge Beijing to step up efforts to solve a series of food safety problems involving Chinese products, the sources said.

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