BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Chinese Vietnamese Burmese Thai Indonesian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Asia-Pacific  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Thursday, 27 June, 2002, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
German leader scores free flight
Gerhard Schroeder celebrates a German goal on the road to the final
Schroeder: Keen for reflected glory
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has managed to hitch a lift to Sunday's World Cup final.

At the G8 summit in Canada, Mr Schroeder jokingly suggested to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that he might accompany him back to Japan on his official plane - and cut thousands of miles off the journey.

Junichiro Koizumi tries out some traditional Canadian headgear
Koizumi's country was knocked out of the tournament in the second round
The chancellor was facing a return trip home followed by a flight to Japan for the match between Germany and Brazil in Yokohama, near Tokyo.

Mr Koizumi took the chancellor's request at face value, and after a few discreet enquiries, it was decided that Mr Schroeder would become the first foreign dignitary to travel on the Japanese Government plane.

"We checked, and it doesn't appear to break any laws," said Japanese spokesman Shinzo Abe.

"His wife will come from Germany to join him, and he will take the German Government plane back."

This year's two-day G8 summit concludes on Thursday evening. Mr Koizumi and Mr Schroeder will leave on Friday, arriving in Tokyo on Saturday.

Mr Schroeder, who is facing an election later this year, will be hoping for a German win to boost his fortunes.

No German Government has ever lost an election after the football team won the World Cup or the European Championship.

Plane row

But the chartering of a plane at taxpayers' expense to fly German politicians - including Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and Interior Minister Otto Schily - to the final has led to criticism in Germany.

Sensing an opportunity for political capital, Mr Schroeder's conservative opponent in September's election, Edmund Stoiber, announced he would travel to Japan for the game at his own expense.

Mr Koizumi, Emperor Akihito and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung will also be at the final.

The World Cup, the first to be held in Asia, is being co-hosted by South Korea.

German President Johannes Rau will attend the game as the official representative of his country, which will host the next World Cup tournament in 2006.

See also:

26 Jun 02 | Germany v Brazil
27 Jun 02 | Germany v Brazil
15 Apr 02 | Sports Talk
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes