President Bush will welcome new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the White House and Camp David this week. The first Japanese head of government born after 1945, Abe is a staunch nationalist who has aroused controversy with his dismissive remarks about “comfort women” — women forced to serve the Japanese army as prostitutes during World War II. Newsweek-Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth sat down with Abe in Tokyo to discuss issues ranging from changing Japan’s constitution to forging a new relationship with China, From the Washington Post:
…Last week the Chinese premier came to Tokyo — the first visit of a senior Chinese official in seven years. How do you see relations with China now and what came out of the visi t of Premier Wen Jiabao?
Since I took office as prime minister last September, I have met with [Chinese] President Hu Jintao twice, during my visit to China and also during the APEC summit. And I’ve had three meetings with Premier Wen Jiabao. On my visit to China last year, I agreed with the Chinese leadership that we together shall build a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests. There are numerous issues that can be covered — the environment, energy, North Korea, East Asian development, U.N. reform and others. I believe that our cooperation on these fronts will benefit not just Japan and China but Asia and the entire world.