Despite his tough stance on U.S.-Japan trade issues, Japanese Prime Minister-designate Kiichi Miyazawa probably will do a lot to promote cooperation with the United States, two members of a Japanese delegation to Lawrence said this morning.
"The new prime minister speaks very good English, so maybe he can speak to President Bush directly, helping to smooth relations," said Norikazu Kawahara, leader of the delegation from Hiratsuka, Japan.
Seiichi Shibuya, representative of the Hiratsuka Northern Rotary Club, agreed, saying that "the relationship between the United States and Japan is the most important thing in our country."
Both delegates shared their views with the help of a translator.
Kawahara said that looking at the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations that have followed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Miyazawa also should be concerned about carving out a role for Japan in working toward world peace. But just as important as international relations, Kawahara said, are several domestic issues.
One of Miyazawa's campaign promises was to work toward political reform. Kawahara said the skyrocketing costs of becoming a political candidate need to be addressed, and he said rural and urban areas need more proportionate national representation.
Kawahara added that many Japanese people don't feel that Miyazawa was truly elected prime minister because the vote actually came from Japan's parliament, the Diet.
Shibuya, however, said he thinks Miyazawa will be an effective prime minister because he'll be able to create cooperation among competing political factions.