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Prime Minister Visits the Middle East (Israel)
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi left on the government plane from Haneda Airport on July 11 to visit countries in the Middle East and to take part in the G8 Summit. He arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel, on the same night (Japan time: midnight of July 12) and visited Jerusalem.
On the morning of July 12 (Japan time: afternoon of the same day), Prime Minister Koizumi visited the Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial, where he prayed for the souls of Jewish people who had lost their lives during the Second World War and offered flowers. Prime Minister Koizumi also observed a tree planted in honor of Mr. Chiune Sugihara, who saved the lives of many Jewish people by issuing visas for them to flee the country during his tenure as Vice-Consul at the Japanese Consulate in Lithuania.
Prime Minister Koizumi met with Mr. Ehud Olmert, the Prime Minister of Israel, after attending the Welcoming Ceremony at the Prime Minister's Office. During the talks, the two leaders discussed issues affecting the peace and stability of the Middle East and of the world, such as North Korea's missile issue and Iran's nuclear issue. Prime Minister Koizumi commented, "I cordially wish for the coexistence and co-prosperity of the Israelis and Palestinians. I hope that the two sides will continue their endeavors for peace, while each of them maintains their restraint and strong hopes.
Prime Minister Koizumi proposed the Corridor of Peace and Prosperity, an initiative which will contribute to the peace and stability of the Middle East region through such measures aimed at enhancing the living standards of the people in the region. Prime Minister Koizumi agreed with Prime Minister Olmert during the meeting that Japan, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan would start a four-party talk on this initiative. The two leaders held a joint press conference to that effect.
On the afternoon (Japan time: night of the same day), Prime Minister Koizumi attended a luncheon hosted by Prime Minister Olmert, after which he held talks with the youth of Israel and Palestine at the hotel where he was staying. Prime Minister Koizumi then paid a courtesy call to Mr. Moshe Katzav, the President of Israel, and put his signature in the visitors' registry book.
On the morning of July 13 (Japan time: afternoon of the same day), Prime Minister Koizumi observed the Old City of Jerusalem, which was registered as a World Heritage Site, before he left for Palestine via land route.