Kishida proposes Biden visit Japan in late April

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has sounded out U.S. President Joe Biden about visiting Japan in late April, government sources said Friday.
The proposal was made when Kishida had a brief conversation with Biden in Brussels on Thursday where a summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and an emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization were held, the sources said.
Japan is arranging to host a summit of the so-called Quad group that also involves Australia and India in Tokyo by June.
The outlook for realizing Biden's first visit to Japan since assuming office in January 2021 on the occasion of the quadripartite gathering remains uncertain, however, due to the war in Ukraine. Australia is also expected to hold a general election by May, the sources said.
"We are making arrangements to set a date but nothing specific has been decided yet," Japan's top government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told a press briefing on Friday, when asked about the timing.
Kishida and Biden agreed during their conversation in Brussels to strengthen the bilateral alliance via dialogue, using such occasions as the U.S. president's planned visit to Japan.
Kishida, who took office in October, had initially hoped to visit the United States for a summit with Biden but surging COVID-19 cases forced him to give up on the idea.
The forthcoming Quad summit would be an opportunity for the four nations to deepen cooperation in the fields of security and economy in the Indo-Pacific region where China's clout has been increasing.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has raised concern about its ramifications for the region.
During a visit to India earlier this month, Kishida agreed with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that they will not tolerate any attempt to change the status quo by force in the Indo-Pacific or anywhere.
As India has traditionally close ties with Russia, how far the Quad members can show their unity over the crisis in Ukraine has been in focus.

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