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PM Suga to depart for Washington this evening

NHK, TBS, and Fuji TV reported at noon that Prime Minister Suga will leave for Washington this evening for his first in-person summit with President Biden on April 16. NHK said the two leaders are expected to confirm the policy of countering China’s hegemonic ambitions, adding that attention will be focused on what they will say about Taiwan and the human rights issues in Xinjiang and Hong Kong in a joint statement to be released after the summit. The network said Prime Minister Suga is hoping to deepen his personal relationship of trust with President Biden, reaffirm the strong bonds of the U.S.-Japan alliance, and discuss ways to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific. In addition, the premier is expected to ask for U.S. cooperation in making the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics a success. According to MOFA, the prime minister’s delegation will comprise about 80 people, about 20 to 30% fewer than usual, due to COVID-19. Prime Minister Suga’s wife Mariko will not accompany the prime minister.

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