Japan PM Kishida heads for APEC summit

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has left for San Francisco to attend a summit meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Arrangements are underway for him to have talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines.

Kishida left Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Wednesday evening. Before departing, he told reporters he plans to discuss global issues including free and open trade, promotion of the digital economy and climate change.

Kishida also said he will visit Stanford University to attend a debate on advanced technology with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol. Kishida added he wants to confirm future-oriented Japan-South Korea relations.
He said the exact date of talks with the Chinese president has not been fixed. If the talks happen, they will be the first between the leaders in about a year.

Kishida said he has not changed his basic policy of building constructive and stable relations with Beijing and maintaining them through mutual efforts. He hopes to confirm that Japan and China will cooperate on shared challenges and maintain communication in a future-oriented manner for a constructive and stable bilateral relationship.

Kishida intends to convey to Xi Japan's view on pending bilateral issues. They include China's suspension of Japanese seafood imports following the release of treated and diluted water into the ocean from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Water accumulated at the plant is treated to remove most radioactive substances, but still contains tritium.
Before the treated water is released into the ocean, it is diluted to reduce tritium to about one-seventh of the guidance level set by the World Health Organization for drinking water.

Meanwhile, a weekly magazine released a report on Wednesday about alleged sexual harassment by Japan's parliamentary vice-minister of defense. The article says Miyake Shingo harassed a staff member of his office 10 years ago. Miyake said the report is not true and he plans to issue a statement of protest against the publisher.

Kishida said the Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces have been working together to eradicate all forms of harassment. The prime minister has already replaced three Cabinet appointees in the current Diet session.