Japan PM confirms Vietnam among first overseas destinations

By Phan Anh   October 13, 2020 | 03:50 am PT
Japan PM confirms Vietnam among first overseas destinations
Yoshihide Suga poses for a picture following his press conference at the Liberal Democratic Party headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, September 14, 2020. Photo by Reuters/Nicolas Datiche.
Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday confirmed he would conduct his first foreign trip since taking office in September to Vietnam and Indonesia.

The trip would be from October 18 to October 21, Vietnam News Agency reported.

Suga said at a Tuesday meeting with the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership that if situations allow, he would visit Vietnam and Indonesia during the trip starting next week, the report said.

At the meeting, Suga considered the trip to Vietnam and Indonesia of great importance in promoting an open and free Indo-Pacific region, with centrally-placed ASEAN playing a key role in the initiative.

Suga’s plan to visit Vietnam and Indonesia comes as Japan seeks to enhance relations with ASEAN member nations.

His predecessor, Shinzo Abe, also chose Vietnam and Indonesia among the destinations for his first foreign trip when he began his second term in December 2012.

Suga, 71, became prime minister after winning a parliamentary vote, taking over from Abe, who resigned over health issues along with his cabinet.

He was considered Abe’s right hand, serving as chief cabinet secretary for eight years.

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