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President Bush to Travel to Japan for G8 Summit

The White House says U.S. President George Bush will travel to Japan early next month for a summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations.

Spokeswoman Dana Perino Tuesday said the president plans to attend a variety of working sessions and a meeting on climate change while at Lake Toya in northern Japan. She said he will also hold several bilateral meetings, including with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak.

She said he is to leave for Japan on July 5, returning to Washington on July 9.

The gathering will be Mr. Bush's last G8 summit as president. The bloc is made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Britain and the United States.

Perino denied that a visit to South Korea was not put on the itinerary because of a dispute between the two countries over U.S. beef exports. She said negotiations on expanding U.S. beef exports to South Korea were making progress, and that the two countries are close to an agreement that will hold.

South Koreans have been staging protests that sometimes turned violent since the two countries reached a deal that would have allowed the U.S. to export cattle 30 months old or older. Cattle that old are considered susceptible to the brain-wasting disease known as mad cow disease.

President Bush has said he wants to visit South Korea before leaving office. Perino said he may have an opportunity to make such a trip in August, when he returns to Asia to attend the Olympics in Beijing.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.