Kishida eyes attending NATO summit on June 29-30

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is seen in the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo on Friday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is considering attending a NATO summit meeting to be held in Spain on June 29-30, government sources said.

If Kishida goes, it will be the first time for a Japanese prime minister to attend a summit meeting of the defense alliance. Participants will reconfirm their unity regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the implementation of sanctions against Moscow and stabilizing supply chains for crude oil and other products.

To counter China’s increasingly hegemonic activities, Kishida would ask other attendees to strengthen their commitment to the Indo-Pacific region. He would attend a Group of Seven summit meeting to be held in Elmau, southern Germany, on June 26-28, and then travel directly to Madrid.

Because Kishida’s trip would overlap with part of the election campaign for the House of Councillors, some in the government had expressed concern about such a long overseas trip. It is unprecedented, however, for a Japanese leader to be invited to a NATO summit, and the government therefore shifted to the view that Japan should make its presence felt.

The leaders of South Korea and Australia are also among the invited parties.