Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will visit five nations in Southeast Asia and Europe over the Golden Week holidays for talks with their leaders, seeking to confirm cooperation with the countries in the face of Russia's war in Ukraine, the government said Thursday.
During his eight-day trip from Friday, Kishida is expected to discuss with the leaders of Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Italy and Britain the response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine as well as strengthening cooperation to advance a "free and open Indo-Pacific" as China continues its maritime expansion in the region.
"We will confirm cooperation in responding to regional and global issues, including the situations in Ukraine, the East and South China seas, North Korea and Myanmar," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno in announcing the trip at a regular press conference.
In Indonesia, Kishida's first stop and host of this year's Group of 20 summit in November, the prime minister is expected to meet with President Joko Widodo.
In Vietnam, Kishida is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and President Nguyen Xuan Phuc before heading for Thailand, this year's host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit, where Kishida is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The two leaders are expected to exchange views on the international situation and witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding and agreements, according to the Thai government.
The two countries, marking the 135th anniversary of diplomatic ties this year, are seeking to sign an agreement on the transfer of defense equipment and technology to strengthen cooperation in the security field, a source familiar with the matter said. Tokyo has already signed similar agreements with Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.
In Europe, Kishida is expected to discuss with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson how to respond to Russia's continued aggression in Ukraine and support people who have fled the war-torn country.
While the coronavirus pandemic has prevented in-person meetings, Kishida, who took office in October, has been increasing face-to-face diplomacy after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
The prime minister visited India and Cambodia in late March, quickly followed by a trip to Belgium, where he and other leaders of the Group of Seven vowed to keep a close watch on any attempts to help Russia evade sanctions, in a possible warning to countries such as China that may seek to aid Moscow.