- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 19, 2001

Japans new foreign minister, on her first visit to Washington yesterday, welcomed U.S. consultation with China and Russia on missile defense, but objected to President Bushs rejection of the Kyoto protocol on global warming.
Makiko Tanaka had been quoted in the Japanese press as criticizing the Bush administrations plan for a missile defense shield. But speaking to journalists after a meeting with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, she said she "appreciates that the U.S. position [on missile defense] is to consult with interested states such as Russia and China."
Mrs. Tanaka, in office for seven weeks, was thought to want to reassure American officials that her opposition to a missile shield did not reflect any undue sympathy for China.
She had acted as informal first lady to her father, former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, when he normalized relations with China, and some have suggested that she may have forged strong ties with Beijings communist elite at that time.
At her meeting yesterday morning with Mr. Powell, Mrs. Tanaka expressed an understanding of the need for further research on missile defense, which she said could yield civilian applications.
A Japanese foreign ministry official, speaking on the condition he not be identified, said Mr. Powell had been unable to tell the foreign minister how long the research phase might take before the United States was ready to deploy a system.
A State Department spokesman said Mr. Powell told Mrs. Tanaka that the answer was in the hands of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who is "working on the technology."
Referring to the Kyoto treaty to limit the emissions of gases associated with global warming, Mrs. Tanaka said Japan "is aware of the U.S. position but Japan does not agree with it."
She indicated there was strong support for ratification of the protocol within Japan.
The Japanese official, speaking later, said, "Japan would like to see the Kyoto protocol take effect. However, we still would like to see the U.S. involved."
Emphasizing the need for continued U.S.-Japanese cooperation, Mrs. Tanaka indicated that the tone of those relations could change.
"The Japan-U.S. alliance is the pivot of Japans foreign policy," she said.
"The security arrangements have already lasted 50 years and we would like to look at its benefits and burdens carefully as we may be at a milestone in the Japan-U.S. security arrangement."
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher quoted Mr. Powell as telling Mrs. Tanaka: "You should always remember that the best friend of Japan is the United States."
Any changes in the security relationship could affect the size of the U.S. troop deployment on the Japanese island of Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of the approximately 50,000 American troops in Japan.
Questions on troop deployment are raised often in the Japanese parliament. Mr. Powell assured Mrs. Tanaka that her concerns would be passed on to Mr. Rumsfeld and that efforts would be made to minimize the burdens of troop deployment on Japan.
Notably present at an earlier meeting with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, whom Mrs. Tanaka failed to meet during his trip to Japan last month.
Mrs. Tanaka also met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert R. Zoellick to discuss economic issues. A Japanese foreign ministry official said Mr. Zoellick asserted that "the trends of the Japanese economy are important not only for Asia but for the world."
The Japanese government is planning structural reforms in order to kick-start the flagging economy. These reforms would control the issuance of national bonds and address the countrys fiscal structure. Mrs. Tanaka said the Japanese people would accept whatever pains came with these policies in order to restore the economy.
The ministry official characterized the meetings on the whole as "warm and friendly." Mr. Bush dropped in on the meeting with Miss Rice, saying he was looking forward to an upcoming visit by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who came to power at the end of April.
Mr. Bush outlined a broad agenda for the visit, including discussions on security, economic issues and U.S.-Russian relations. Mrs. Tanaka said she hoped that missile defense and the Kyoto protocol also would be discussed.

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