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Japan's PM Announces Educational Grants For Uzbekistan

Junichiro Koizumi will step down as prime minister in September (file photo) (AFP) August 29, 2006 -- Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has announced nearly $3 million in new educational grants aimed at bringing young Uzbek scholars to Japan.

Koizumi and Uzbek President Islam Karimov signed an agreement on the program in Tashkent today.

Uzbek state-controlled media say this is the eighth such deal sealed by the two countries since 1999.

Koizumi, who arrived in Tashkent earlier today from neighboring Kazakhstan, also said he had brought with him a large shipment of textbooks for Uzbek universities.

Japanese Foreign Ministry official Noriyuka Shikata, who was traveling with Koizumi in Kazakhstan on August 28, said Japanese universities were ready to accept up to 2,000 students from Central Asia in the next three years.

(, UzA, AFP, Kazinform)