Suga: No dissolving Diet amid COVID crisis

Japan's Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide says it is impossible to dissolve the Lower House and call a general election under the current coronavirus situation.

Suga told reporters on Wednesday that the situation is severe and his policy of prioritizing coronavirus measures has not changed at all.

He also said he is not thinking of delaying the Liberal Democratic Party presidential election, for which campaigning officially begins on September 17.

He said he thinks the schedule for dissolving the Lower House will be decided in due course.

Suga also responded to a question regarding a government decision to recall the Self-Defense Forces aircraft that had been sent for a mission to evacuate people from Afghanistan. The aircraft brought one Japanese woman and 14 Afghans out of the country.

He said the biggest goal of the mission was to secure the safety of Japanese nationals, and that he thinks it was good in that sense.

Suga said his government will work with the United States and other countries to secure the safety of Japanese nationals and others and will help them leave Afghanistan when necessary.