Japanese PM arrives in Israel for visit

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi arrived in Israel on Tuesday, the first Japanese leader to visit in 11 years, to bolster Japan's position in the Middle East as it withdraws its troops from an unprecedented mission in Iraq. During the visit, postponed by rising tensions in the region earlier this year, officials said Koizumi was to call for the Israelis and Palestinians to end the escalation of violence through dialogue. He was also expected to offer humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. Koizumi was to meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Moshe Katsav on Wednesday and was later scheduled to visit Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and, in Jordon, King Abdullah II.