TOKYO – Japan’s new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga is planning to visit Vietnam and Indonesia this month (October) in his official overseas trip as Prime Minister of Japan, government sources revealed on Wednesday.
If the trip materializes, Suga is expected to hold meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
The plan to visit the ASEAN Member states comes as Japan seeks to bolster ties with countries in the regional bloc amid the increasing tension between the United States and China over territory, trade and other issues.
China is looking to increase its influence among the Asean members as the latter have been at odds with Beijing over the South China Sea jurisdictions.
According to Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato the bilateral meeting of Japan between these two countries will play a key role in diplomacy.
Japan also seeks to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, as well as implementing new policy concerning freedom of navigation and overflight, and peaceful settlement of disputes via diplomacy.
Vietnam and Indonesia were also the first overseas destination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he took the position in 2012. Japan were able to pursue closer ties with the region and Suga is expected to follow suit on his predecessor’s foreign policy.
Suga will make a final decision on whether the trip will materialized as they still monitoring the Covid-19 situation at home. Suga, 71, became the Prime Minister after winning the majority parliament vote. He took over from Shinzo Abe who filed a resignation over health issues. Suga is considered Abe’s ally as he was serving in his cabinet as Chief cabinet secretary since 2012.