The Saturday edition of Yomiuri reported that the U.S., Japan, Australia, and India are considering holding a foreign ministerial in Tokyo in early October to discuss ways to realize the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” initiative led by the U.S. and Japan and keep China’s maritime activities in check. The daily wrote that if the plan is realized, it would be the first time for foreign ministers to visit Japan since the coronavirus pandemic began. According to the daily, Secretary of State Pompeo, Foreign Minister Motegi, Australian Foreign Minister Payne, and Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar are expected to participate in the meeting. The Sunday editions of Nikkei and Mainichi carried similar reports.
In a related story, today’s Mainichi took up an article published by the Australian on Tuesday saying that Prime Minister Morrison may visit Japan in mid-November for talks with Prime Minister Suga. According to the report, the Australian leader is hoping to convey to China that the strategic partnership between Canberra and Tokyo will continue even after the resignation of former Prime Minister Abe. Morrison’s purported Japan trip may be delayed until January or later depending on the COVID-19 situation and whether Prime Minister Suga decides to dissolve the Lower House for a snap election this year.