Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono will be absent from the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to be held in Myanmar on Nov. 20 and 21. His absence is due to his attendance at the interpellations in both the lower and upper houses which all cabinet ministers will participate in and is scheduled from Nov. 20 through 22. Kono will be the first Japanese foreign minister to miss the meeting since 2004. The Yomiuri Shimbun learned of his absence from multiple government sources.
The ASEM comprises 51 countries in Asia and Europe. The upcoming meeting is expected to focus on applying more pressure on North Korea, which continues to develop nuclear and missile capabilities. The Japanese government plans to send State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kazuyuki Nakane to the meeting on behalf of Kono.