President Mikheil Saakashvili and First Lady Sandra Roelofs were received by Emperor Akihito and his wife at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo

During their visit to Japan, President Mikheil Saakashvili and First Lady Sandra Roelofs were received by Emperor Akihito and his wife at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The emperor and the president met behind closed doors. Saakashvili was pleased with the meeting and said afterwards that the Georgian delegation had been very warmly received by its Japanese hosts. 
"The emperor and his wife are pleasant and humble people. They expressed a great interest in Georgia, which has left me very pleasantly surprised," Saakashvili said. 

While in Tokyo President Saakashvili also commented on the parliamentary elections in breakaway Abkhazia held on 4 March. He noted that to date no separatist poll had been met with such a negative reaction by the world community. He said that the de facto authorities in Abkhazia had been subjected to an "avalanche of criticism" from international organizations, which further shows that the Georgian government is pursing the correct policy in regard to this issue. 

"Now, almost all these statements, from the OSCE, Americans and Europeans, various parliaments and governments, are a big avalanche of stones on the heads of these separatists and I think now they should not retain any illusions," he said.

President Saakashvili spoke about the popularization of Georgian brands abroad, singling out matsoni (yoghurt) produced by the Sante dairy products company, which has been available in the Land of the Rising Sun for several years. He also spoke of the need to develop the tourism in Georgia and attract Japanese tourists to the country. 

Saakashvili touched on Georgia's military presence in Iraq and announced plans to increase Georgia's troop contingent there to 2,000 men. 

"There is a very difficult situation right now in Iraq. We Georgians must show the world that we do not retreat and that we are ready to uphold our values to the end," the president said. 

He also commented on efforts under way to transport the remains of independent Georgia's first president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, back to Georgia. 

Saakashvili said he was uncomfortable commenting on the issue and said that such issues such not be decided unilaterally by the president. He promised all necessary technical assistance to Gamsakhurdia's family, but said that determining Zviad Gamsakhurdia's eternal resting place was the responsibility of the special government commission working on the issue. 


Communications Office
of the President of Georgia
ncludes BBC Monitoring materia

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