Japan, US ready to cooperate in tackling global downturn
Japan and the United States are ready to work together to tackle the global economic slowdown when the leaders of the two nations meet Tuesday at the White House, a senior Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry official said Monday, dpa reported.
The heads of the world's two largest economies were expected to agree to fight protectionism as Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso becomes the first foreign leader to visit US President Barack Obama in Washington, the official said.
Japan had earlier conveyed its opposition to a "buy American" provision in a 787- billion-dollar US economic stimulus package signed into law last week.
The measure, which bars foreign manufactured goods from being used in government projects, was modified in the final bill to assure it doesn't violate existing trade agreements.
Tokyo brought up its criticism of the measure when US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Japan last week, and Obama has vowed to combat protectionism.
During their hour-long meeting, Aso and Obama plan to discuss other issues, including support in Afghanistan, climate change and energy, North Korea's nuclear weapons programme and African development, the ministry said.
The summit come ahead of the Group of 20 financial summit scheduled for April 2 in London.
Questions abound as to how long Aso, who is to depart Washington Tuesday evening, will remain in office. Calls for his resignation are rising as his approval ratings near the single digits ahead of parliamentary elections that must be held at the latest in September.
An economic aid plan and the next fiscal year's budget are stalled in the Diet, and Aso's finance minister resigned last week after he appeared to be drunk at an international meeting.