July 27, 2005

Japan’s Machimura to meet Rice in Washington-Kyodo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka
Machimura will visit Washington on Thursday to hold talks with
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Kyodo news agency
reported, quoting Japanese officials in Washington.

A foreign ministry spokesman in Tokyo said the trip
appeared to have been decided upon but had no further details,
including on the purpose of the meeting with Rice.

Machimura has been in New York to lobby for a seat for
Japan on the United Nations Security Council along with
Germany, Brazil and India in the so-called "Group of Four."

Enlargement of the 15-member U.N. decision-making body,
which reflects the balance of power at the end of World War II,
is currently the most contentious issue at the United Nations.

Japan's high-profile bid has run into difficulties,
however, due to lukewarm support from the United States and
sharp opposition from China.

Machimura told a news conference at the United Nations on
Wednesday that Tokyo anticipated domestic pressure to cut its
contributions to the United Nations -- now more than 19 percent
of the U.N. budget -- if its bid for a permanent Security
Council seat failed.