Update: Koizumi in Sweden
Sveriges Radio International reports that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said he and Sweden's Göran Persson had agreed on the need for reforms of the United Nations:
But Persson stopped short of saying Japan should have a permanent seat on the Security Council. The Japanese Prime Minister also said his country has much to learn from Sweden’s policy on welfare and ageing populations. Earlier in the day he visited a Swedish kindergarten to get a firsthand look at the country’s child care system.
Another issue was North Korea, since Sweden maintains diplomatic relations with the communist regime in Pyongyang, and Göran Persson has visited North Korea.
Kyodo reports that Sweden and Japan will join forces in helping resolve the issue of abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea:
In response to Koizumi's call for Sweden's help on the issue, Persson was quoted as replying that Sweden, which has diplomatic ties with North Korea, wants to discuss the abduction issue and the North Korean nuclear development issue with Pyongyang. On other issues, Persson pointed out that Japan's ties with China, which have been at the nadir since normalizing diplomatic relations in 1972, should be developed in an amicable manner as theirs is a key bilateral relationship in Asia, the officials said.