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Tuesday, 24th February 2009
In General Japan News,

Aso to visit Obama in Washington

Taro Aso, the prime minister of Japan, is to become the first foreign leader to visit President Obama at the White House today (February 24th).

Mr Aso's trip to Washington follows the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton's visit to Japan on her first diplomatic journey last week.

The Japanese premier is likely to seek assurances that the long-standing relationship between his country and the US remains strong.

Previously, the removal of North Korea from the Bush administration's list of terrorist states had led to a cooling of the warm friendship between the two nations.

Go Ito, a professor of political science at Meiji University, said Mr Aso is likely to use the trip to boost his credentials as a statesman in an attempt to improve his opinion poll ratings back home.

"I'm sure that both sides will repeat the importance of the alliance, but Mr Aso's main aim for going to Washington is for its impact on domestic politics," he told the Telegraph.