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LEAD: Kono to join Mori-Khatami meeting Wed.

TOKYO, Oct. 27 Kyodo


Foreign Minister Yohei Kono said Friday he plans to join next Wednesday's meeting in Tokyo between Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, the first Iranian leader to come to Japan in 42 years.

Kono also said at a press conference he hopes to pay a courtesy call on Khatami during the president's four-day official visit starting Tuesday. Ministry officials said Kono will likely do so Tuesday afternoon.

In the summit talks, Japan will reiterate its support for Khatami's efforts for reform and democratic changes in Iran, Kono said.

The foreign minister said plans are under way for Khatami to address the Diet on Wednesday before his meeting with Mori.

Khatami will speak in the House of Representatives plenary hall to send a message directly to the Japanese people about a new Iran under his reform-minded policies, ministry spokesman Chikahito Harada said.

The president will be the first foreign leader to address the Japanese parliament since South Korean President Kim Dae Jung gave a speech to the House of Councillors in October 1998.

In the summit, Khatami and Mori will discuss boosting political and economic ties and issue a joint statement and action plan spelling out how to promote further friendly relations between the two countries, Harada said.

''We expect the historic visit will open a new page in bilateral relations,'' the deputy press secretary told a press conference.

The two leaders will hold a signing ceremony for the joint statement and afterward speak briefly to the media, ministry officials said.

The officials said the summit's agenda also includes talks about regional issues, such as the continuing violence between Israeli security forces and Palestinians.

Mori will also relay the international community's concern over Iran's apparent support for terrorism with its backing of a Lebanese militia group as well as its suspected missile development program involving imports from North Korea, the officials said.

Khatami will have lunch with Japanese business leaders Wednesday, the officials said, adding that the private sector is discussing various plans to invest in development projects in Iran.

On Thursday, Khatami is scheduled to give a speech at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where he will receive an honorary doctorate, meet Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, and attend a reception hosted by a Japanese parliamentary league promoting Japan-Iran friendship.

Japanese officials, including International Trade and Industry Minister Takeo Hiranuma, are planning to pay courtesy calls on Khatami, the first Iranian leader to visit Japan since Iranian King Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi did so in 1958.

As requested by the Iranian side, the ministry is arranging an excursion for Khatami on Friday morning before his scheduled departure from Japan later in the day, the officials said.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Oct 30, 2000
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