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Prime Minister Visits Finland
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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi left on the government plane from Haneda Airport on September 7 to participate in the sixth Asia-Europe Summit Meeting (ASEM6). He arrived in Helsinki, the capital of the Republic of Finland and the venue of the meeting, on the night of the same day (Japan time: midnight of September 8).
On the afternoon of September 8 (Japan time: night of the same day), Prime Minister Koizumi held a meeting with Mr. Matti Vanhanen, the Prime Minister of Finland, at the Government Banquet Hall. Prime Minister Koizumi expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Vanhanen for the strong condemnation expressed by Finland as the holder of the presidency of the European Union (EU) concerning the issue of the missile launch by North Korea. The two leaders discussed the issue of the abductions by North Korea, the Iranian nuclear issue, Middle East issues, reform of the United Nations (UN), energy, and environmental issues. The two leaders later held a joint press conference.
In the evening (Japan time: night of the same day), Prime Minister Vanhanen escorted Prime Minister Koizumi to observe Ainola, the home of composer Jean Sibelius. Prime Minister Koizumi thereafter observed Halosenniemi, a house designed and used as an atelier by painter Pekka Halonen.
On the morning of September 9 (Japan time: afternoon of the same day), Prime Minister Koizumi visited Suomenlinna Island, a World Heritage site of a fortress island protecting the coast lines. There Prime Minister Koizumi observed historical assets such as a battery built in the 19th century. Prime Minister Koizumi afterwards visited Tokuyuan, a Japanese tea house located on the island.
In the afternoon, Prime Minister Koizumi paid a courtesy call on Ms. Tarja Halonen, the President of Finland, at the Presidential Palace. The two leaders, who had both served as ministers of health and welfare in the late 1980s, exchanged opinions on the issues of welfare, pension, and nursing care, and agreed to enhance cooperation between the two countries.
In the evening (Japan time: midnight of the same day), Prime Minister Koizumi held a meeting with Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the President of the Republic of the Philippines, who was staying in Finland to participate in the ASEM meeting. The two leaders signed an economic partnership agreement (EPA) between Japan and the Philippines to seek the liberalization and expansion of mutual trade and investment.
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