Trade Likely Focus of Koizumi's Visit

Lee Berthiaume
Published: Wednesday, 06/28/2006 12:00 am EDT

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi toured Niagara Falls before flying to Ottawa yesterday for the first of a four-day visit to Canada and the United States that will include a trip to Elvis Presley's grave at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. While Mr. Koizumi is not on an official visit – hence no flags raised to honour his arrival – the Japanese leader's schedule is filled with various meetings, including a working lunch with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Mr. Koizumi will also receive a report on Canadian-Japanese relations this morning and meet with representatives from the Canadian Council of Chief Executives in the afternoon. Prof. Michael Donnelly of the University of Toronto said he would expect the two leaders to discuss human security, UN reform and improving bilateral trade relations. Japan is one of Canada's main trading partners, with total trade in 2005 amounting to $23.9 billion, but Canada is currently running a large trade deficit with the Asian country. Canada, Prof. Donnelly said, has been neglecting Japan in favour of China, which he said was short-sighted. "Japan is still enormously important across all the dimensions," he said, though he expected the visit will not produce any significant results. "I don't think that this is a summit meeting meant to accomplish much or to stir things up," Prof. Donnelly said. "It will probably be a good-feeling meeting." This is Mr. Koizumi's first visit to Canada since he attended the G8 Summit in Kananaskis, Alberta in 2002. Following his meeting with the CCCE representatives, Mr. Koizumi flies to Washington, D.C. to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush. The pair is expected to visit Elvis Presley's grave at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.

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