Japan Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa Attends Key Summits with PM Kishida, Seen as Potential Successor

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, foreground, and Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa attend the Japan-U.S.-Philippines summit talks in Washington on Thursday.

WASHINGTON — Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa has been notably present at important events while accompanying Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on his official visit to the United States. On Thursday afternoon, Kamikawa attended trilateral summit talks between Japan, the United States and the Philippines. Furthermore, she participated in a small group meeting at the Japan-U.S. summit held the previous day. At such summit talks, there are smaller, more intensive discussion sessions, in addition to the larger meetings with many attendees including staff from both sides. Kamikawa was selected to participate in one of these small group meetings.

Generally, it is uncommon for a foreign minister to accompany a prime minister on overseas trips. However, Kishida, who served as foreign minister in 2015, accompanied then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on his official visit to the United States and attended a summit meeting. There is increasing attention on Kamikawa as a potential successor to Kishida; hence, some view her presence on Kishida’s recent trip to the United States as Kishida giving her an opportunity to gain valuable experience.

As Kamikawa worked as a staff member for a U.S. senator before becoming a lawmaker, when Kamikawa met with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo on Thursday, she was seen conversing in English, in which she is proficient.