President Bush met with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the White House for talks on fighting terrorism and convincing North Korea to give up nuclear weapons.

An honor guard of American soldiers welcomed the Japanese leader to the White House on his last official visit as prime minister.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Koizumi have built a strong friendship over the last five years, a bond that the president says shows how much relations between their countries have changed since the end of the Second World War.
"Decades ago, our two fathers looked across the Pacific and saw adversaries, uncertainty, and war. Today, their sons look across that same ocean and see friends and opportunity and peace," Mr. Bush said.

President Bush thanked the prime minister for Japan's commitment to fighting terrorism. Japan is the third largest contributor to Afghan reconstruction and sent troops to Iraq.

"The people of Japan can be proud of the contribution their self defense forces have made in the war on terror, and Americans are proud to serve alongside such courageous allies," the president said.

Prime Minister Koizumi said the two leaders have cooperated on a series of international issues from fighting terrorism to joining a multilateral effort to convince North Korea to give up nuclear weapons.

"Japan and the United States are allies on various matters not simply of bilateral relations but on the questions of how best we, our two countries, could cooperate together as allies in addressing various international issues," he said.

After their talks, the two leaders took questions from reporters in the White House East Room. They will have an official dinner Thursday before traveling to the southern state of Tennessee on Friday for a private tour of Graceland, the home of the late Rock and Roll legend Elvis Presley.

Prime Minister Koizumi is a big fan of the musician known as the King of Rock and Roll. President Bush joked that the Japanese leader's visit to the White House is nothing compared to Graceland.

"Officially he is here to see the president, but I know the highlight of his visit will be paying his respects to the King," he said.

Prime Minister Koizumi, who has recorded his own album of Elvis classics, thanked America for one of his favorite songs, 'Love Me Tender.'