Yomiuri front-paged the disclosure by a GOJ source that arrangements are underway for the Quad leaders to assemble in the U.S. capital on Sept. 24, saying that during the first-ever in-person meeting between the four partners, the participants are likely to issue a joint statement on the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, and advanced technology. They are also likely to discuss maritime security with China’s aggressive naval operations in the South and East China Seas in mind. Sankei filed a similar article, adding that Prime Minister Suga will probably hold talks with President Biden on the margins.
In a related development, Mainichi and Asahi took up remarks made to the press yesterday by Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato that PM Suga is expected to travel to Washington to attend the four-way conference. “The partnership between the U.S., Japan. Australia, and India is important in promoting cooperation for realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the government spokesperson was quoted as saying. Suga is likely to depart on Sept. 23. According to an unnamed senior Kantei official cited by Asahi, the Biden administration has urged the prime minister to participate in the Quad summit even after he announced his plan to step down. The papers stressed that it is extremely unusual for a departing prime minister to go overseas on the eve of his resignation, with Asahi adding that doubts remain even among GOJ officials about whether the lame-duck premier can or should engage in in-depth consultations.
Nikkei said the Biden administration is eager to convene a Quad summit in Washington to play up the unity between the four major democratic countries at a time when it has been criticized heavily at home and abroad over the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.