The Prime Minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi, who is accompanied by a group of businessmen on a trip to Brazil, visited, yesterday, the site of construction to widen and deepen the Tietê River Channel, in São Paulo. He was joined by the Governor of São Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin, and the Executive Director of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JIBC), Iwao Okamato.
The Prime Minister and the Governor also visited coffee, orange, and sugar cane plantations and reforested areas on the Guatapará and São Martinho estates, where around 50 Japanese pioneer families first established themselves, in Pradópolis, near Ribeirão Preto.
The Governor underscored Japan’s concern with the environment and its interest in the ethanol produced in the state of São Paulo.
“Japan, which has already endorsed the Kyoto Protocol, is concerned about the environment, because petroleum derivatives contain many pollutants, such as carbon, which contributes to the greenhouse effect.
“On the other hand, they are interested in obtaining ethyl alcohol (ethanol) from Brazil, because they are dependent on products derived from petroleum, and the price of petroleum, which is rising, has already surpassed US$ 40 a barrel,” the governor remarked.
Today, Koizumi will participate in a floral ceremony to pay homage to immigrants and the pioneers of Japanese immigration at the Immigrants Monument.
Then he will visit the Japanese Pavilion in Ibirapuera Park. The Pavilion, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, is a replica of the Katsura Palace, in Kyoto (western Japan).
Koizumi will also meet today, at the headquarters of the Brazilian Japanese Culture Society, with representatives of organizations that unite descendants of Japanese immigrants.
He will discuss the expansion of exchanges between Brazil and Japan and preparations for the commemorations, in 2008, of the Centennial of Japanese Immigration in Brazil.
At the end of the afternoon, Koizumi will travel to Brasília. Tomorrow, he has a private meeting scheduled with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who will also honor him with a luncheon.
Reporter: Leonardo Stavale
Translator: David Silberstein