Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga cancels visit to India, Philippines


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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has cancelled his planned visit to India and the Philippines in the wake of rise in COVID-19 infections in Japan. This was reported by the local media on April 21, 2021. 

The Japanese Prime Minister was scheduled to visit the two nations from late April to early May to reaffirm Japan’s cooperation with them in achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific.

This would have been Yoshihide Suga’s first visit to India as the Prime Minister of Japan. Last week, he had made his first visit to the United States to hold a summit meeting with US President Joe Biden. 

Speaking on the cancelling of the Japanese PM’s visit to India and the Philippines, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said: “In order to take all possible coronavirus countermeasures, it has been decided Prime Minister Suga won’t take any overseas trips during the Golden Week.”

COVID-19 in Japan

•Japan’s government is considering imposing a state of emergency in Tokyo and some other prefectures including Osaka and Hyogo after a resurgence of coronavirus infections. 

•Japan has so far reported almost 5,40,000 coronavirus infection cases and the death toll stands at 9707. 

•The latest surge in infections has been majorly reported from two cities- Tokyo and Osaka. The spike is threatening to choke the health care systems in the areas. 

•The nation has a total population of 12.63 crores. 

•The Prime Minister is expected to meet relevant ministers later in the day including health chief Norihisa Tamura and Yasutoshi Nishimura, who are in-charge of the country’s coronavirus response, to discuss what would be the third emergency declaration over the pandemic.

Background

The cancellation of the Japanese PM’s visit comes as India is reporting an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases with 295,041 new infections and 2023 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. This is the highest rise India has ever seen since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic last year. 

Japan along with India is a part of a four-nation group called QUAD, which also includes Australia and the United States. The QUAD leaders had pledged last month to work to ensure a free Indo-Pacific region. 





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