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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

LDP chief Nikai supports Abe diplomacy through extensive foreign connections

  • May 28, 2018
  • , Yomiuri , p. 4
  • JMH Translation
  • ,

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai is engaged in increasingly active parliamentary diplomacy. He has already visited four countries this year for exchanges with political and business leaders and to build personal connections, in order to support the Abe cabinet’s diplomacy from the sidelines.

 

Nikai visited Wenchuan County, about 80 kilometers northwest of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, on May 27. He silently offered flowers at a middle school building there that has been preserved as a monument to commemorate the victims of the major earthquake that occurred in Sichuan in May 2008.

 

After offering flowers, Nikai told reporters: “It is important for countries to cooperate and think [of disasters in other countries] as their own problems when responding to disasters.”

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping also visited Wenchuan in February. A source accompanying Nikai explained that Nikai’s visit was “a message for further improvement of the Japan-China relationship.”

 

Nikai was in Indonesia in January and he traveled to Russia and Turkey in April. He started his China trip on May 25 and this is the fourth country he has visited this year. His overseas trips are often characterized by: 1) visiting regional cities to deepen exchanges by taking advantage of his own personal connections; and 2) including a large number of politicians and business leaders in his entourage. When he visited Russia, he was accompanied by a delegation of over 200 politicians, bureaucrats, and private citizens, thus demonstrating his influence.

 

During his present visit to China, Nikai also visited the provinces of Liaoning and Sichuan with LDP Deputy Secretary General Motoo Hayashi, Komeito House of Representatives member Tomoko Ukishima, and others for meetings with local government officials and business leaders. An aide to Nikai pointed out, “With channels of communication diminishing between Japan and China, this is also meant to help build the relationship in the future.”

 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (LDP president) is putting a great deal of effort into diplomacy in his bid to win a third term as party president in the election in September. Nikai’s active diplomacy is likely to support Abe’s bid indirectly.

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