Japan and China at odds over the resumption of Six-Party Talks; DPJ’s presidential election contest intensifies as Ozawa announces his candidature; Japan sends flood relief assistance to Pakistan;
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  • In a recent development, Japan and China have been at odds over how to restart the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programme. This is because of the fact that Beijing is seeking an early resumption of talks but Tokyo is taking a cautious stance. In a statement Japan’s Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said that his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, “did not confirm North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's reported visit to China and his rumored talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Changchun, Jilin Province”. "Considering the feelings of South Koreans and the South Korean government's position, it's not easy (to resume) the six-party talks soon," Okada told reporters after meeting Yang in Beijing.1

    On the domestic front, ruling Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers have intensified their efforts to increase the support for the two contenders in the ruling party's presidential election, Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Ichiro Ozawa. This battle between Ozawa and Kan camp intensified after Ozawa’s announcement that he would contest in the September 14 poll. This will determine whether Kan can continue to serve as prime minister after only three months in office.2

    In another development, Japanese Air Self-Defense transport plane arrived in the central Pakistani city of Multan with equipment to help a Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force relief mission set up for flood-relief operations. Six Japanese helicopters are helping airlift relief supplies from Multan to flood victims in Punjab Province.3 Meanwhile the Obama administration has urged Japan to implement additional sanctions on Iran in order to bring them in tune with the European Union sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program. These additional sanctions would include a ban on new investment in Iran's energy-related industries. However, there was no demand from Washington to restrict imports of crude oil from Iran.4