Japan and Brazil plan to press ahead in their efforts to gain permanent United Nations Security Council seats, forging a new "alliance" to bolster economic links and bring Asia and South America closer.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva arrived Thursday in Tokyo, the latest stop on his tour of East Asia to boost Brazil's presence in the area.
He was granted the rare privilege of addressing the Japanese Parliament and later met with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
The Brazilian President told legislators the partnership between Japan and Brazil should be based on a "spirit of solidarity and cooperation", stressing on the long standing links between Japan and Brazil, which in 2008 will be celebrating the centennial of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the country.
Lula emphasized that the Brazilian-Japanese "alliance" faces two immediate challenges: promoting trade and pushing for an overhaul of the United Nations that would give the two countries permanent seats on the Security Council.
In the 1970s Japan ranked as the third-largest direct investor in Brazil with nearly 2.8 billion US dollars, but now has dropped to tenth place.
"We want Brazil to become a source, not just of raw materials, but also of high-value-added products." stressed President Lula da Silva to the Japanese Congress.
Brazil is ready to export "airplanes, computer software and clean energy," all clear examples of the countryâ€™s leading role in South America, said Lula da Silva.
In 2004, Brazil's exports to Japan totalled US$ 2.7 billion and imports from Tokyo added US$ 2.8 billion.
Almost 250,000 Brazilian immigrants currently live in Japan, making it the third largest foreign community in that country, only behind the Chinese and Koreans.
This article appeared originally in Mercopress - www.mercopress.com.