- The Washington Times - Friday, May 12, 2000

Scandal, apology bid open Japan campaign

TOKYO Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori demanded Thursday that four major national newspapers publish front-page apologies for reporting allegations that police once caught him in a brothel more than 40 years ago.
Publication of the allegation marked an ugly, unofficial start to campaigning for a general election expected in June.
The demand came one day after senior officials in Mr. Mori's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the dominant member of the governing coalition, said he would dissolve the lower house on June 2 and call a general election for June 25.
The three-party ruling coalition holds 336 seats in the 500 seat lower house, and the LDP alone holds 268. Party elders want a vote of confidence from the electorate before Japan hosts a July summit of the Group of Eight (G-8), the world's seven largest economies and Russia, in Okinawa.

Debate deferred again on Khmer Rouge trials

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia The debate over establishing a tribunal to handle trials of Khmer Rouge officials for crimes against humanity has been delayed for another month by snags over details, parliament Speaker Prince Norodom Ranariddh said Thursday.
The prince, speaking to foreign and local investors, said the tribunal issue has a lower priority than the government's efforts to boost economic development and wipe out corruption.
"The lingering issue of a trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders distracts and diverts some of our attention and resources away from the economic development of the country," Prince Ranariddh said.
"While a trial is very important to put the darkest period of Cambodian history behind us, I believe we should not spend significant resources on this issue," he said. A draft law will be debated "hopefully [by] mid-June," he said.

Jakarta students plan street protests today

JAKARTA, Indonesia Students plan to take to the streets of the capital Friday to mark the second anniversary of the bloody riots that helped oust President Suharto.
More than 1,000 people died in rioting that broke out in Jakarta on May 12, 1998. Large parts of the city were in flames as mobs embarked on an orgy of arson and looting. Gen. Suharto's 32-year, army-backed rule ended May 21, 1998.
"There will be several protests tomorrow. Students will rally at the palace, parliament and Cendana [Gen. Suharto's home]," Adian Napitupulu of the radical City Forum student group told Reuters Thursday.
"We are taking to the streets as we realize there are no meaningful changes for the people in the reform process. Up until today, not a single corrupter, human rights violator, has been arrested and brought to trial," he said.

Weekly notes . . .

China said Thursday it hopes for a rapid improvement in relations with the Vatican, a day after an announcement by the Roman Catholic Church that it had approved Zhao Fengchang, a member of China's state-run church, as bishop of Yanggu, Shandong province. The Holy See insisted Bishop Zhao's nomination was the "first in which a bishop chosen with the agreement of the Vatican was consecrated by bishops faithful to the pope." … Japan said Thursday it will grant Cambodia a total of 1.7 billion yen ($15.54 million) in fresh aid for the removal of land mines and to improve its medical facilities and national highway. An estimated 6 million land mines remain in the ground, prohibiting use of about 15 percent of Cambodia's farming land.

* Based on wire dispatches and staff reports.

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