Japanese Koizumi visits Sweden

Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was to meet with Swedish counterpart Goran Persson and King Carl XVI Gustaf during a visit to the Swedish capital Thursday.

Koizumi, who finished his first African tour on Wednesday, was also set to visit a kindergarten in Stockholm to get a firsthand look at the Scandinavian nation's child care system, government officials said.

After the school visit, Koizumi will meet with Persson for talks expected to focus on issues like Swedish policies concerning its aging population, a problem currently facing Japan, as well as Japan's hopes to win a permanent seat on an expanded U.N. Security Council.

Koizumi visited the African nations of Ethiopia and Ghana this week, meeting with top officials to discuss a reform of the U.N. body, which also is a key issue to Africans who feel theirs is the only continent without a strong voice on the 15-member council.

Koizumi will finish his Stockholm visit by meeting with the Swedish monarch, who has no political power but is head of state, reports the AP.

I.L.