Kamikawa Visiting African and Asian Countries to Deepen Ties; Hoping to Discuss Economic Cooperation

The Yomiuri Shimbun
African and Asian countries Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa will visit during the Golden Week holiday period
*Visiting France from May 1 to 3. All dates are local time

Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa is visiting five emerging and developing countries in Africa and Asia during the Golden Week holidays for the purpose of strengthening bilateral ties with these countries, as China is also increasing its presence in these regions.

Kamikawa will exchange ideas with senior officials of respective countries regarding issues such as economic cooperation and realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

Kamikawa left Haneda Airport on a commercial plane Friday night and arrived at the first destination, Madagascar, on Saturday morning local time. Madagascar is positioned along a key sea lane between the Indian Ocean and Africa. It has never been visited by a Japanese foreign minister before. Kamikawa and her Madagascar counterpart, Rasata Rafaravavitafika, held a meeting over lunch on Saturday.

In Africa, Kamikawa is set to visit Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday and Monday and then Nigeria from Monday to Wednesday. Cote d’Ivoire is home to the Port of Abidjan, a major regional transshipment hub in western Africa. Nigeria has the largest population in Africa, with over 200 million people.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the largest trade partner of these three countries is China. In August 2025, Japan plans to invite leaders of African countries to Yokohama and hold the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). A preparatory ministerial meeting for the event will also take place in August in Tokyo and Kamikawa plans to ensure good communications with key persons in major African countries ahead of the ministerial meeting.

After visiting these African countries, Kamikawa will attend a ministerial council meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. She will then visit Sri Lanka and Nepal on May 4 and 5.

Sri Lanka has taken on huge loans from China and had trouble repaying them. As a result, the country granted a 99-year lease on Hambantota port to a Chinese company. Kamikawa is expected to announce Japan’s support measures for Sri Lanka to settle the loan problem during her visit in the country.

Nepal is on good terms with neighboring China. Japan has been providing support to Nepal for many years and hopes to deepen the bilateral relationship by further supporting the country’s economic development.

At a press conference Kamikawa held Friday afternoon before leaving Japan, she mentioned the visits, saying, “Economy, the sea and connections are common themes for the visits. I will engage in diplomacy that serves as a bridge between the Global South and like-minded countries, including Group of Seven nations.”

Support for firms entering Africa

The Foreign Ministry has decided to assign “wide-area economic officers,” who are in charge of helping Japanese businesses expand into Africa, to six diplomatic missions in Africa and other regions where Japanese companies have offices to supervise operations in Africa, such as Europe and the Middle East.

The officers will be stationed at Japanese embassies in South Africa, Britain, India and Turkey, as well as Japanese consulates general in Istanbul and Dubai.

While the African markets are expected to have high economic growth potential, there are many issues to consider, including security and other areas. The officers will provide relevant information for companies and perform diplomatic roles with countries where Japanese companies operate.