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G-8 Participants to Visit Tokyo Before Summit

Date Posted: 2000-03-05

Japanese government officials are reportedly planning to invite the G-8 leaders to visit Tokyo just before the summit in Okinawa. According to government sources, the foreign ministry and other officials started arranging schedules for possible bilateral meetings between the leaders. The plans also call for a state dinner hosted by the Emperor.

The idea is to give the leaders more time to attend various cultural events planned for Okinawa during the Summit. The plan would also give the organisers a back-up should a typhoon threaten Okinawa during the planned summit days. In that case the summit would be held in Tokyo.

Most of the participants are reportedly positive about the plan. French President Jacques Chirac and European Commission President Romano Prodi are already scheduled to attend the annual meeting between Japan and European Union on July 19th, and are likely able to change their schedule to accommodate the planned pre-summit meeting. Leaders of Britain, Canada, Germany and Italy are reportedly also in favour of the plan.

The Russians have a presidential election coming up in April and they will make the decision after the election. The Americans say that it may be difficult for President Clinton to come to Tokyo first because of security and communications concerns.

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