Suga leaves for Vietnam, Indonesia

Japan's Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has left for Vietnam and Indonesia on his first overseas tour since assuming office.

During the four-day tour, Suga is scheduled to meet Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Indonesian President Joko Widodo. He will give a speech on Japan's policy towards ASEAN at a university in Hanoi on Monday.

Before leaving Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Sunday, Suga told reporters that he wants to speak with the leaders about deepening Japan's relations with the two countries as well as with ASEAN.

He said ASEAN is an important partner for realizing the free and open Indo-Pacific that Japan is pursuing, and he will explain that Japan is committed to contributing to the peace and prosperity of the region.

This will be the first overseas trip by a Japanese prime minister since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The government has limited the number of staff traveling with the prime minister. Suga and the officials have been tested for the coronavirus. They will also be given tests when they return to Japan.