Japan's Suga Begins 1st Foreign Trip as PM
Tokyo, Oct. 18 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga left Tokyo for Southeast Asia on Sunday afternoon, starting his first foreign trip since he took office last month.
During the trip to Vietnam and Indonesia, Suga hopes to gain support for the vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region as China's assertiveness keeps increasing in the East and South China seas.
Vietnam and Indonesia are the first countries that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited after his second administration started in December 2012. This tour took place the following month.
Suga chose the same countries to publicize internationally his stance of taking over policies adopted by his predecessor.
"The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is an extremely important key to realizing the free and open Indo-Pacific vision," Suga told reporters at Tokyo International Airport at Haneda before his departure.