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Japan’s Suga leaves for US to attend Quad Summit

Outgoing Japanese Prime Minister SUGA Yoshihide left for the United States on Thursday to attend the first in-person summit among the
Outgoing Japanese Prime Minister SUGA Yoshihide left for the United States on Thursday to attend the first in-person summit among the "Quad" nations of the United States, Japan, Australia and India to be held in Washington on Friday.
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23 Sep 2021 11:09:06 GMT9
23 Sep 2021 11:09:06 GMT9

TOKYO: Outgoing Japanese Prime Minister SUGA Yoshihide left for the United States on Thursday to attend the first in-person summit among the “Quad” nations of the United States, Japan, Australia and India to be held in Washington on Friday.

A government jet carrying Suga departed from Tokyo International Airport at Haneda.

The prime minister plans to make a proposal to other leaders to hold a Quad summit on a regular basis so as to strengthen the four countries’ cooperation in the face of China’s rise.

Ahead of his departure, Suga told reporters that he plans to have four-way discussions on the key issues of coronavirus vaccines, new technologies and climate change. “We’ll explore ways to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the prime minister added.

Suga is expected to leave office on Oct. 4, when Japan’s parliament is set to elect a new prime minister.

Although it is extremely rare for a prime minister to travel overseas when there are only about 10 days left in office, a senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official said, “Continuity is indispensable for diplomacy,” stressing the significance of passing down the achievements of Suga’s US visit to the new administration.

Suga himself has put energy into promoting cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, which his government inherited from the administration of his predecessor, Shinzo Abe.

“This time, the focus will be on whether the Quad framework can become established,” another Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.

The Quad nations held their first summit talks in March this year in an online format. The four countries launched cooperation in three fields — coronavirus vaccines, innovative technologies and responses to climate change.

On the occasion of Friday’s in-person summit, the four countries plan to release outcome documents on vaccine contributions to developing countries, among other topics, aiming to call attention to the cooperation among the nations sharing democratic values.

During his stay in Washington, Suga will also hold separate talks with US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He plans to hear the leaders’ views on a new security pact between the United States, Britain and Australia, or AUKUS, and exchange opinions on regional affairs, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, which China and Taiwan recently applied to join.

Suga will return to Japan on Sunday.

JIJI Press

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