Kocharian’s Visit to Japan a Success

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan and Armenpress)–President Robert Kocharian who is on an official visit to Japan met with Minister of Economy–Industry and Trade of Japan Takeo Hiranuma on Thursday.

Emphasizing that Japan intends to develop and deepen cooperation with the South Caucasian countries–Hiranuma pointed out that the Japanese highly value their relations with Armenia. Being the most organized and stable country in the South Caucasus–Armenia can be a reliable partner for Japan–according to Kocharian. Khiranuma also confirmed Japan’s support and contributions to Armenia’s admission into the World Trade Organization.

The president’s public relations department told reporters that Kocharian praised Japan’s transition from providing humanitarian aid to Armenia to implementing development programs.

"We are very interested in attracting private Japanese investors to Armenia," the president said adding that the Armenian government supports the maximum liberalization of Armenia’s economy–as well as the development of small and medium-sized foreign businesses within Armenia’s borders. Kocharian stressed that this will support the development of bilateral relations. He also pointed out the impact of Japan on the daily lives of Armenia’s and called on Tokyo to continue its economic support.

The same day Kocharian met with Japan’s Prime Minister Yunichiro Koizumi–and discussed the prospects for the development of friendly relations between Armenia and Japan. The sides agreed to cooperate closer in the fight against international terrorism. Cooperation between Russia Ready To Guarantee Peace In Karabakh MOSCOW (Armenpress)–The public relations department of the Russian president Vladimir Putin said that along with economic issues–the leaders of Armenia and Russia discussed the Karabakh conflict during Kocharian’s two day working visit to Moscow.

The agency quoted Putin as saying that the status of Nagorno Karabakh should be agreed upon by Azerbaijan and Armenia themselves–"but Russia will support any option acceptable to all conflicting sides and under these conditions–and Russia may take the responsibility of guaranteeing the implementation of the peace agreement."

"Russia is a key mediator in the peace process for the Karabakh conflict and Moscow supports the continuation of the direct dialogue between Kocharian and Aliyev," said a Moscow-based RIA Novosti news agency.

The blockade of Armenian by neighboring Azerbaijan and Turkey was also discussed by the two leaders. It was stated that complete freedom of Armenia is largely dependent on the opening of the railway across Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia. "We (Russia) is interested in the opening of this section of the railroad–but we cannot take any action because of the lack of political will on behalf of Georgia’s leadership," reported the RIA Novosti news agency.

Armenia and Japan on the issue of disarmament was also touched upon. The Japanese Prime-Minister stated that Japan is ready to support the development of democracy with a bilateral open market economy in Armenia. After the meeting–Kocharian and Koizumi signed a joint declaration on Friendship and Partnership between Armenia and Japan–agreeing to enlarge the cooperation in the science–technology–culture–education and tourism industries.

The president also met with the chairman of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA)–Takaaki Kavakami. Kocharian and Armenia’s trade and industry minister signed a two-year program on "Development of the mining industry of Armenia" with the JICA chairman and the minister of Trade and Industry of Japan.

On December 20–Robert Kocharian met with the Emperor Akihito. The four-day visit of Armenian president to Japan is the first one in the history of relations between the two countries.

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