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Saakashvili in Japan to Boost Ties
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 Mar.'07 / 11:37

During a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on March 8, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili reaffirmed his country's support for Japan’s bid to take a seat in the UN Security Council, Kyodo news agency reported.

Georgian media sources reported that potential Japanese investment projects in Georgia were discussed during the meeting.

President Saakashvili is in Japan for a working visit from March 7-11. On March 9, President Saakashvili has an audience with Emperor Akihito. This is Saakashvili’s first visit to Japan and the second time that a Georgian leader has visited the country. Ex-President Shevardnadze paid an official visit to Japan in 1999.

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, during President Saakashvili’s visit the governments of the two countries planned to issue a Joint Statement in which Japan “will highly value Georgia's efforts to promote freedom and prosperity through such initiatives as the Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova (GUAM) Organization for Democracy and Economic Development and the Community of Democratic Choice (CDC).”

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, while speaking about, as he put it, “new bases” of the Japanese foreign policy at the Japan Institute of International Affairs last November, noted the importance of boosting ties with GUAM member states.

“Japan is of the view that we should foster as many opportunities as possible for contact with the countries of the CDC as well as countries such as those in the GUAM nations,” he said.

“Japan does not currently have what I would consider satisfactory diplomatic functions within the countries of the GUAM that I mentioned earlier or certain other regions, and it is imperative that we enhance the level at an early time,” the Japanese Foreign Minister added.

Officials in Tbilisi say that the opening of a Japanese embassy in Tbilisi and a Georgian embassy in Tokyo is planned for 2007.

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