Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Obama to meet Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso Today

At the White House.

President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso will discuss the global economic crisis, Afghanistan and North Korea at a meeting on Tuesday aimed at reinforcing the strong alliance between their two countries.

Aso is the first foreign leader to visit the White House since Obama took office a month ago, signaling the new U.S. president's aim of cultivating warm ties.

But it is unclear whether Aso, who will sit down with Obama at 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT), will be paying many future visits to the Oval Office.

After a series of flip-flops and gaffes by his government, some in Aso's own Liberal Democratic Party have called for him to be replaced and a poll released this week showed almost four out of five Japanese voters want him to quit within months.

"This meeting is not about the individuals so much as it is about the relationship between the countries," said Ralph Cossa, head of the Pacific Forum think tank at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


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