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Prime minister shares Bush's desire to defuse friction

TOKYO -- Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa agrees with President Bush on the need to ease friction between Japan and the United States, a senior government spokesman said Thursday.

'It is true that Japan has mixed feelings toward the United States,' Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Kato said referring to a speech by Bush.

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Bush said Tuesday in New York that Japan-bashing has become a 'minor sport' in some places in the United States and noted some Japanese have become scornful of the United States.

Last week, Bush postponed a visit to Asia scheduled to begin in Tokyo Nov. 29, one week before the 50th anniversary commemorations of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II. It was the second postponement in a year and raised concern in Tokyo.

Kato told a news conference it is important for the two giant economies to come to grips with fiscal issues.

'We appreciate the U.S. effort to resolve its budget deficit,' he said.

Bush said in his speech he was looking forward to traveling soon to Asia. In response, Kato said he believed it would be difficult to reschedule the visit this year.

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Bush's decision to put off his trip followed mounting criticism from Democrats for concentrating too much on foreign affairs.

It came however at a sensitive time for newly elected Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, who had set his sights on using the visit to announce with Bush how the two countries plan to cooperate in contributing to world peace over the next 50 years.

In Parliament Thursday, Miyazawa was asked if his government intends to revise the constitution at the time of the Pearl Harbor anniversary.

Miyazawa dismissed the suggestion, maintaining, 'The Japanese people support the constitution stipulating freedom, international harmony and human rights.'

He said the government will consider inviting a U.N. disarmament organization to move to the city of Hiroshima, where the United States dropped an atomic bomb in the closing days of World War II.

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