Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi Here Today; Sees Arroyo on 1st Day of State Visit

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Byline: FERDIE J. MAGLALANG

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo welcomes today Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on his two-day state visit here where the two leaders are expected to discuss how to strengthen the two countries' diplomatic and economic links.

Koizumi is expected to arrive in Manila at about 1:35 p.m. and will be formally received by Vice President and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teofisto Guingona and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Yoshihisa Ara.

The Prime Minister and his party will be brought to Rizal Monument in Luneta Park in Manila to lay wreath in honor of the national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. He will then proceed to Malacanang for a courtesy call on the President.

After a brief exchange of pleasantries and the customary military honor on a visiting head of state, the President and the Prime Minister will witness the turnover ceremony of computers to selected public high schools.

Koizumi will also have the chance to address former Filipino scholars in Japan at about 5:40 p.m. in Diamond Hotel where he will also meet with Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Jose de Venecia.

President Arroyo will also host a state dinner in honor of Prime Minister Koizumi.

The President is likewise expected to follow up the bilateral talks she has already started with Prime Minister Koizumi during her four-day working visit in Tokyo, Japan last September.

Mrs. Arroyo's visit to Japan took place at a time that World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington DC, were bombed by terrorist group, prompting an eventual downfall of US and Japan's economies.

Even prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the US, the Japanese governmetn has already decided to reduce by 20 percent its ODA to developing countries, except the Philippines.

Japan is the Philippines's biggest source of Official Development Assistance (ODA),

Latest government figures showed that about $13. …