Japan’s Foreign Minister May Visit China Soon

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is preparing to visit China as early as this weekend, Japanese government sources said Tuesday.

Hayashi is expected to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Qin Gang, to express concerns about the recent situation in the East China Sea, including the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands, claimed by Beijing.

Hayashi is also seen requesting China to release a Japanese national in his 50s detained by Chinese authorities this month.

Hayashi will be the first Japanese foreign minister to visit China since December 2019. Hayashi and Qin had a telephone conversation last month.

At a meeting in November last year, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to enhance bilateral communication, including between them, to build constructive and stable relations.

The two leaders also confirmed that their countries would arrange Hayashi’s early visit to China. Hayashi considered traveling to China late last year, but the trip was put off due to reasons on the side of China.

The man detained in China is an employee of Japanese drugmaker Astellas Pharma Inc. . Beijing says he is suspected of violating the counterespionage law.

At a news conference Tuesday, Hayashi said Tokyo has remained unable to make direct contact with the man.

During the expected trip to China, Hayashi is seen expressing concerns about China’s repeated intrusions into Japanese waters around the Senkaku Islands and joint military activities with Russia near Japan.

He is also expected to note the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and discuss a plan to put a hotline between Japanese and Chinese defense authorities into use.