Kishida delays departure for ASEAN summit to deal with justice minister

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his wife board a plane at Haneda Airport in Tokyo in the early hours of Saturday morning.

PHNOM PENH — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delayed his departure for Cambodia on Friday to fire Justice Minister Yasuhiro Hanashi, who provoked uproar with flippant comments about his duties in the Cabinet post.

Kishida has appointed Ken Saito as the new justice minister.

The prime minister’s plane had been scheduled to depart from Haneda Airport in Tokyo at 3 p.m. Friday and arrive in Cambodia on the same day. The flight ended up departing after 1 a.m. Saturday.

Kishida arrived in Cambodia at 5:30 a.m., giving him just enough time to attend the 8 a.m. start of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Plus Three summit, which involves the participation of Japan, China and South Korea.

Bilateral meetings with Laos, Vietnam, and Brunei that had been scheduled for after the ASEAN summit were canceled.