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By Emil Danielyan

Armenia voiced on Thursday support for Japan’s long-standing bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the foreign ministry in Yerevan said.

Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, who is accompanying President Robert Kocharian on an official trip to Japan, was quoted by his press service as conveying Yerevan’s position on the issue to his Japanese counterpart, Makiko Tanaka.

The two governments agreed Wednesday to strengthen international cooperation in fighting terrorism and boost wide-ranging bilateral relations. Kocharian and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi signed a joint statement that commits the two countries to strengthening cooperation in fighting terrorism, striving for a total ban on nuclear tests and support for the non-proliferation of mass-destruction weapons.

Kocharian, the first Armenian head of state to visit Japan, was received on Thursday by Emperor Akihito. The meeting had a “ceremonial character,” according to the presidential press office.

Kocharian, who hopes that his trip will spur Japanese investments in the struggling Armenian economy, also met with the top executives of the Japanese External Trade Organization and the Japanese Bank of International Cooperation. He also visited the headquarters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and met with members of the newly formed Japanese parliamentary group that aims to promote relations with Armenia.

AFP quoted an unnamed government official in Tokyo as saying that the Armenian president urged Koizumi to continue aid to his country even if Tokyo plans to cut its official development assistance due to its financial constraint.
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