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3RD LD: Aso vows to continue refueling mission in meeting with Pakistani PM.

BEIJING, Oct. 25 Kyodo


Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, meeting Saturday with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, vowed to do his utmost to continue Japan's antiterrorism refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, a Japanese official said.

In the meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting in Beijing, Gillani expressed appreciation for Japan's refueling support and told Aso he hopes Japan continues the mission, the official said.

A bill to extend Japan's mission in support of U.S.-led antiterrorism operations in and near Afghanistan through to the next year beyond the expiry date of the current mission on Jan. 15 is being deliberated in the Diet.

Gillani said Pakistan will cooperate with other countries to continue its fight against terrorism, and Aso expressed Japan's support for the country, saying it is important to help developing countries amid the severe global economic situation, the official said.

Aso told Gillani that Pakistan, which has sought help from the International Monetary Fund to prevent its economy from collapsing under the pressure of high fuel and food prices, should work in close contact with the IMF, the official said.

In the working lunch session of Saturday's ASEM meeting, Aso pledged to support Afghanistan. He said Pakistan has a significant role to play in bringing stability to Afghanistan, another Japanese government official said.

Aso also sought other ASEM members' support for efforts at the six-party talks to denuclearize North Korea as well as Japan's efforts to resolve Pyongyang's abductions of Japanese nationals, the official said.

During an ASEM session on sustainable development, Aso announced Japan will contribute to the stockpiling of vaccines for new types of influenza for 500,000 people within the ASEM region, mainly in India, Pakistan and China.

The move follows Japan's offer announced last year to stockpile the vaccines for 500,000 people in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region, according to a Japanese government official who briefed reporters on the session.

Aso also held separate bilateral talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Saturday, and agreed to cooperate in addressing the global financial upheaval at the Group of 20 summit next month.

Sarkozy, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, told Aso he wants to take up stronger regulation and monitoring of financial institutions at the meeting to be hosted by Washington, according to a separate Japanese government official.

Aso said he agrees with the idea of monitoring and discipline for financial institutions so long as they coexist with free market mechanisms and are transparent, the official said.

On Friday, Aso held bilateral talks with South Korean, Chinese and German leaders and agreed to collaborate to tackle the financial crisis ahead of next month's summit.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Oct 27, 2008
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