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Japan Hoping to Host Mideast Peace Meeting

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso says Tokyo is planning to host a meeting with Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian officials next month to help peace efforts in the Middle East.

Speaking Tuesday in Tokyo, Aso said plans have not been finalized, but Japan hopes the meeting will happen in mid-March.

He said the meeting would be a follow-up to a proposal by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi during a visit to the Middle East last July. The proposal included Japanese economic assistance for development projects on the West Bank.

Mr. Koizumi's trip to the Middle East was the first by a Japanese leader in a decade. Japan's current leader, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has not announced any official plans to visit the region.

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