Japan has not yet decided who to represent the country at the Group of 20 (G20) Foreign Ministers’ meeting in India starting on Wednesday, reported Reuters citing Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.
Hayashi was responding to a reporter’s question at a news conference on Tuesday about earlier reports that Japan’s top diplomat will skip the meeting with counterparts at G20 due to domestic parliamentary sessions, reported Reuters.
The news was reported earlier by Japanese media, including the Nikkei newspaper. A deputy minister is likely to be dispatched in his place, reports said.
The G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) is scheduled to take place in physical format from March 1-2, 2023 in New Delhi under India’s presidency.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address the foreign ministers of the member countries of G20 and he will talk about India’s growing influence globally.
The March 1-2 meeting of the G20 foreign ministers will be held days after a meeting of finance chiefs of the bloc in Bengaluru.
The New Delhi meeting will be attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. In all, representatives of 40 countries, including non-G20 members invited by India, and multilateral organisations, will attend.
The news sparked criticism from lawmakers and members of the public on social media, who said it was a lost opportunity to show leadership as Japan prepares to host the Group of Seven summit in May.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Japan in September to attend the state funeral for former Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe and also held talks with his successor Fumio Kishida.
“It’s a regrettable decision that means forfeiting a chance to emphasize the importance of the rule of law to the developing countries that take part in G-20,” Goshi Hosono, a ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker said on Twitter.
Hayashi had already arranged bilateral discussions with some of his counterparts on the sidelines of the meeting, Kyodo News reported.
Bolstering ties with India has been a priority for the Kishida government as it seeks partners beyond its sole treaty ally, the US, to counter security threats posed by the likes of China. (ANI)