Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters Suga was invited by President Joe Biden to attend the summit scheduled for September 24. The trip a few days before the end of his term will be Suga’s second to Washington as prime minister after a meeting of the two leaders in April. . A previous Quad Summit in March was held online.
An incumbent Japanese leader’s rare overseas trip comes as senior lawmakers in Suga’s ruling party are busy ahead of a leadership election. Suga’s trip is seen as Japan trying to show the continuity of its diplomacy and commitment to peace and democracy in the Indo-Pacific region.
Suga has announced his intention not to run for the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party on September 29, paving the way for a new party leader who will also become Japan’s next prime minister.
Kato said Japan is organizing Suga’s trip because of the importance of the Quad meeting.
“The holding of the next Quad Summit is extremely important, and it is important that Prime Minister Suga passes it on to his successor,” Kato said.
Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters that “our position on the importance of the Japan-US alliance or the achievement of the ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ is consistent regardless of who becomes the next party leader or prime minister “.
Three candidates have so far announced their entry into the race, with Taro Kono, a minister in charge of vaccinations, seen in the lead. Former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who has moved from his accommodating stance to the right, and former Home Secretary Sanae Takaichi, who shares the ultra-conservative stance of former leader Shinzo Abe, are also vying for the highest position.
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