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Japanese PM confirms to visit Vietnam, Indonesia in mid-October

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who took office on September 16, has confirmed his destinations for the first overseas trip will be Vietnam and Indonesia.

The visit is expected to take place from October 18 to 21.

Revealing the plan at an executive meeting of Japan's main governing Liberal Democratic Party on October 13, Suga described the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as the key to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

He said he aims to show that Japan will take the lead in promoting peace and prosperity in the region.

Talking to the press, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the visit has an important role to play in realising the vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

That Japan can discuss frankly with Vietnam and Indonesia on regional and international matters as well as post-pandemic issues is meaningful, he added. Vietnam is the Chair of ASEAN this year, while Indonesia is a big nation in the bloc.

The plan to visit the ASEAN member states came as Japan sought to strengthen ties with countries in the region amid growing tensions between its main security ally – the US – and its biggest trade partner – China.

Vietnam and Indonesia were also the first overseas destinations for former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after he assumed the premiership for the second time in December 2012. /