TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio is considering attending a NATO summit set for June 29-30 in Madrid, Spain, government sources said Friday.
Kishida is planning to attend the NATO summit after taking part in a Group of Seven summit in Germany on June 26-28, the sources said. He would be the first Japanese leader to attend a NATO summit.
The Japanese prime minister hopes to use the NATO summit to affirm cooperation with his US and European counterparts over responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s growing assertiveness, the sources said.
NATO, which sees Japan as one of its Asia-Pacific partners, has sounded out Tokyo about being present at the summit, the sources said.
In April, Yoshimasa Hayashi became the first Japanese foreign minister to attend a meeting of NATO foreign chiefs. Japan “needs to boost cooperation with NATO,” a government source said.
On the sidelines of the NATO summit, Kishida may hold his first in-person meeting with new South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who is also expected to attend the summit.
Kishida may end up deciding not to attend the NATO summit. If he attends both of the G-7 and NATO summits, he would not be in Japan for a long period during a campaign period for a House of Councillors election expected to begin on June 22.