Powell to visit Japan; US troops, N.Korea on agenda
US Secretary of State Colin Powell will visit Tokyo for two days next weekend to discuss security and trade as well as stalled talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions, Japanese officials said on Sunday.
Powell's visit was expected to focus on the planned realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, imports of U.S. beef and the six-party talks, including Japan and the United States, on North Korea's nuclear weapons programs.
President Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi agreed last month to accelerate talks on ways to ease the U.S. military presence in Japan, particularly on Okinawa, home to most U.S. forces in Japan.
Japanese and U.S. authorities are discussing the impact of a global realignment of U.S. forces to cope with new threats such as terrorism.
Many people in Okinawa resent bearing what they see as an unfair burden for the U.S.-Japan military alliance and they hope one result of a realignment of U.S. forces will be fewer U.S. military personnel on their island.
Japan's 10-month-old ban on imports of U.S. beef, imposed 10 months ago after a case of mad cow disease was detected in Washington state, will also be high on the agenda.
Powell arrives in Japan on Saturday. He will visit South Korea and China after Japan, the Foreign Ministry officials said.