President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ends Visit to Japan

Tuesday, 13th March 2007
Monrovia, Liberia - Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso has announced his countryís decision to renew full bilateral relations with Liberia. Minister Aso said the decision is based on the strong leadership exhibited by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf since her ascendancy as Africaís first democratically elected female president. He made the disclosure in Tokyo Tuesday during a reception held in honor of the Liberian Leader by Japanís Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
President Sirleaf thanked the Government of Japan for its support and acknowledged that a wind of change is blowing across Africa of which Liberia can become a success story.  

In another development, President Johnson Sirleaf has acknowledged that the gender gap between men and women has reduced due to access to education for girls. In spite of this modest achievement, the President noted, women continue to face difficulties including gross violation of their rights with impunity. The President added that while progress is painfully slow, women are gradually making an impact.
President Johnson Sirleaf spoke on Tuesday in Tokyo when she delivered the keynote address at a program at the United Nations University on the topic ĎThe Role of African Women in Developmentí. She observed that women are claiming positive roles in government with more women occupying key positions in governments across the world. The President highlighted poverty and exclusion as well as conflict, as elements which limit the capacity of women and called for robust steps to be taken to lead to women empowerment.

The President called for the strengthening of the judicial systems in Liberia and the world over which would make them incorruptible. She mentioned effective counseling and confidentiality as catalysts which would lead to curtailing gender based violence. The Liberian leader further emphasized that her achievement as Africaís first female President is a challenge to which she must succeed.  President Sirleaf later held discussion with Japanese ship owners and which encouraged them to register with Liberia under the countryís Maritime Program. 

The Liberian Leader has now concluded her two day official visit to Japan and is scheduled to depart on Wednesday for Brussels on the final leg of her visit to Europe.