All national dailies wrote that Prime Minister Abe and Italian Prime Minster Conte held talks in Rome on Wednesday and agreed on mutual cooperation for realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Abe reportedly explained Japan’s policy of making robust infrastructure investment in the region based on such principles as transparency and openness, apparently with China’s Belt and Road trade promotion initiative in mind. The articles noted that as Italy is an avid supporter of the Chinese initiative, Tokyo is concerned about Rome’s rapidly cozying up to Beijing. Nikkei said Abe is keen to rein in China’s growing presence on the European continent in such high-tech fields as 5G telecommunication networks. Abe and Conte also reportedly affirmed mutual cooperation for making the G20 summit in Osaka a success.
Asahi added that that Abe’s European tour is intended to obtain cooperation for a successful G20 summit, conjecturing that he is expected to act as a middleman between President Trump and other participants because the U.S. leader is likely to take an “America First” approach. The daily claimed that the premier needs to make the Osaka conference a success to shore up his public support ahead of the Upper House election in July.