Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Tuesday he will visit Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Turkey and Qatar from next Sunday to discuss regional security and the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
His visit to the Middle East through Aug. 24 follows recent launches of new administrations in Iran and Israel, which are key regional powers, and is aimed at consolidating Japan's ties with the area strategically important for Tokyo as a major oil supplier.
"Through the visit, I want to reiterate our commitment to the Middle East, which has contributed to its peace and prosperity over the years," Motegi told a press conference.
Last week, Ebrahim Raisi took office as Iran's president, vowing to pursue a nuclear program and calling for international sanctions to be lifted, while Israel saw its first change of power in 12 years in June as Naftali Bennett was sworn in as prime minister after Benjamin Netanyahu stepped down from the post.
Referring to the new governments in Iran and Israel, Motegi said, "I would like to frankly exchange opinions on the regional situation and work closely with them to promote the stability of the region," the minister said.
The minister initially considered also visiting Iraq, but the COVID-19 situation there will not allow him to do so, the Foreign Ministry said.