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Japan, NATO Agree to Closer Cooperation

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi says Japan will seek to expand its cooperation with NATO.

A Japanese diplomat who attended a meeting with Mr. Koizumi and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Monday reported that the two agreed that NATO and Japan should build closer ties.

The diplomat quoted Mr. de Hoop Scheffer as telling the prime minister he hoped increased cooperation would help bring stability to Afghanistan. The NATO chief praised Japan for what it has already done. Tokyo has been working with other countries to disarm and demobilize militant factions in Afghanistan.

Officially pacifist Japan, a close U.S. ally, provided logistical support in the Indian Ocean during the 2001 war that ousted the extremist Islamic Taleban regime.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP.