Koizumi meets Bush, vows to ‘stand firmly’ by U.S

Koizumi meets Bush, vows to ‘stand firmly’ by U.S

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 Kyodo

(EDS: RECASTING THROUGHOUT)

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi met with U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday and pledged that Japan will ”stand firmly” by the United States in its war against international terrorism.

Koizumi also promised that the Japanese government will cooperate with Washington as much as possible, short of using military force.

”We Japanese firmly stand by the United States to fight terrorism,” Koizumi told reporters after emerging alongside Bush after an hourlong meeting at the Oval Office.

The Japanese leader underscored his message to the U.S. media by delivering his press remarks in English.

The Koizumi-Bush summit, part of U.S. efforts to forge a global coalition against international terrorism, was dominated by the Sept. 11 terror attacks in New York and Washington, including their political and economic impacts.

On the economic front, Koizumi underscored the need for the two largest economies of the world to cooperate to prevent the terror attacks from triggering confusion in the global economic system.

As part of that effort, Koizumi reiterated his determination to revive Japan’s long-struggling economy through an aggressive structural reform agenda.

Bush reaffirmed his backing for Koizumi’s reform efforts, especially on his plan to dispose of nonperforming loans at Japanese banks, adding that both Japan and the U.S. should work to boost their economies.

Koizumi told Bush that Japan will give as much assistance as possible without using its military force, while the president said that not engaging directly in a military conflict alongside the U.S. does not lessen the importance of the bilateral alliance.

A U.S. administration official quoted Bush as saying in the meeting that he understands that Japan cannot commit combat troops, but that in his ”war” on terrorism, cutting funding to terrorists is just as important as dropping bombs.

Koizumi told Bush Japan is willing to cooperate in fields such as assisting refugees, collecting information and shipping supplies, according to Japanese government officials.

The activities are outlined in Japan’s seven-point package of actions, which includes taking steps to allow the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to provide logistical support to an anticipated U.S. military retaliation.

New legislation is expected to be submitted to the next extraordinary Diet session to allow the SDF to take part in backup activities such as medical services, transportation and the supply of goods.

Other steps in the seven-point plan include emergency economic aid to Pakistan to encourage its cooperation in tracking down Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, Washington’s prime suspect in the terror attacks.

Koizumi told Bush about Japan’s decision to give $40 million in such aid to Pakistan, and briefed him about the dispatch of a government envoy to support Pakistan’s cooperation with the U.S.

Speaking before reporters, Bush called Japan’s financial aid to Pakistan a ”very important financial contribution.”

Koizumi joined a list of world leaders who have visited Washington as Bush musters global support for his antiterrorism campaign.

Bush told Koizumi that he may not be able to make a visit to Japan next month because he must deal with the aftermath of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, according to U.S. and Japanese officials.

Koizumi made a brief visit to the Pentagon ahead of his meeting with Bush and witnessed the destruction caused by the attacks.

The premier, who headed back to Japan following the meeting with Bush, also visited the ruins of the World Trade Center during a brief stop in New York on Monday.

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