Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu, hoping to convince the world that Japan is doing its share to end the Persian Gulf crisis, left Friday for a 12-day trip to the United States and Middle East.
Kaifu will spend much of his four days in New York explaining to Americans the steps Japan has taken in the crisis, including its pledge of $4 billion in financial support and a proposal announced Thursday to permit unarmed Japanese soldiers to go to the gulf for non-combat duty.Kaifu will meet President Bush on Saturday and speak at the U.N. Summit for Children on Sunday.
He leaves New York Monday for Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Oman and returns to Tokyo on Oct. 9.
In the Middle East, Kaifu will discuss the details of the $2 billion Japan has promised in aid to front-line states in the crisis.
Kaifu has his work cut out for him in trying to convince Americans that Japan has done all it can do in responding to Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait during an oil and border dispute.