Japanese PM: we can learn from Sweden

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has said that Japan has much to learn from Sweden's policy on welfare and challenges like ageing populations.

“Japan has many things to learn from Sweden on ageing population, declining fertility, welfare and also on UN reform,” Koizumi said at a press conference after a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson in Stockholm on Thursday.

Earlier in the day Koizumi visited a kindergarten in Stockholm.

“We can learn from Sweden on pre-school and welfare in general,” he said.

Talks also covered bilateral relations, energy policy, Sino-Japanese relations and North Korea, Koizumi said.

The two leaders also said they agreed on the need to reform the UN.

Japan has been campaigning for a seat on the UN Security Council, and Sweden currently holds the rotating presidency of the UN General Assembly.

Koizumi was in Stockholm on the last leg of a week-long tour during which he also visited Ethiopa and Ghana. It is the first time an incumbent Japanese leader has visited the three countries.

After an audience with the Swedish king and queen, Koizumi was returned to Japan on Thursday evening.