Japan's PM Makes Quick Stop at Harvard

David M. Gliklich

Japanese Prime Minister JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI visits Harvard Monday evening. He met with deans, faculty and University President Lawrence H. Summers, and made a brief speech.

A busy weekend of international visitors accompanied by heavy security was capped Monday night, with a whistle-stop visit to Harvard by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Koizumi swung by Loeb House for a meeting with University President Lawrence H. Summers, faculty members and top University officials, and delivered a short statement at a reception afterward.

Koizumi’s visit comes seven months after he and Summers met in Tokyo on Summers’ first trip abroad as University president. Summers knows the prime minister from his time as treasury secretary.

The entire visit lasted under a half-hour and was Koizumi’s first stop on a trip to the U.S. that brings him to New York City to accompany President Bush at a Sept. 11 remembrance today.

In their remarks, Summers and Koizumi highlighted Harvard’s ties to Asia, and to Japan in particular.

With the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, a program on U.S.-Japan relations, and the Fairbanks Center for East Asian Research, Summers said Harvard continues to make Japan a focus of intense study.

Koizumi told the audience that he welcomed the chance to begin his visit to the United States at Harvard, where “the best and brightest around the world gather.”

“Education is essential for sustainable development and the future of the world. This has always been my firm belief,” Koizumi said. “Japan, poor in natural resources, depends much on the strength of its human resources.”

Koizumi also managed to draw a few laughs.

“I didn’t expect that Boston would be hotter than Tokyo,” Koizumi said as some in the audience fanned themselves on what was a sweltering hot September evening.

After the statements, Summers and Koizumi mingled with the faculty, distinguished guests and students studying Japan, before Koizumi’s entourage left.

From Loeb House, Koizumi went on to Gillette Stadium for the New England Patriots season opener.

Summers said that he and Koizumi “talked about everything from football to North Korea to deflation.”

Koizumi’s visit came on the heels of a speech by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf at the ARCO Forum Sunday afternoon.

Staff writer David H. Gellis can be reached at gellis@fas.harvard.edu.