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New Japanese Prime Minister.

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On behalf of the Government and people of Australia I congratulate Japan�s new Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Australia counts Japan among its very best friends. We are democracies that have shared interests in a stable and prosperous Asia-Pacific region. In recent years, Australia and Japan have worked together during the financial crisis and in East Timor for the benefit of the region.

Japan and Australia have very strong economic ties. This country has great interests at stake in Japan�s economic future. I welcome Mr Koizumi�s proposals for economic reform, while acknowledging the difficult decisions that this course will require.

I wish Mr Koizumi every success as he takes on the ambitious programme of economic and political reform that he has foreshadowed.

The Australian Government will work very closely with Mr Koizumi�s administration to deepen the strong cooperation between our two countries.

I will be writing to Mr Koizumi to give him my personal congratulations, and I look forward to meeting him personally in the near future.

I also record my thanks to the outgoing Prime Minister Mr Mori for his contribution to the bilateral relationship.

26 April 2001

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