TOKYO: Japanese Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa departed for Brussels on Wednesday to attend a meeting of foreign ministers from NATO members and their partner countries.
He will be the first Japanese foreign minister to attend a meeting of NATO foreign ministers.
The meeting is expected to focus on additional sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
Hayashi will seek to strengthen cooperation with NATO states in order to prevent a similar incident in the Indo-Pacific region amid China’s growing assertiveness.
NATO has been stepping up its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region in recent years, which Japan has welcomed.
“A conflict may occur very close to Japan,” a senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official said. “It will be important in the future that we create a strong relationship (with NATO).”
Hayashi is also slated to attend a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven major industrial nations, as well as a bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
He will return to Japan on Friday.