Japan Foreign Minister Begins ASEAN Tour to Strengthen Ties Amid China’s Growing Influence

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa (Photo: KYODO NEWS)

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa is leading a delegation on a six-day trip to four ASEAN countries –Laos, Brunei, Vietnam, and Thailand – to strengthen security and economic ties with ASEAN members amid China’s growing influence in the region. 

The minister will visit Laos on 11–12 October, aiming to strengthen the long-standing friendship and good cooperation between Laos and Japan as part of their strategic partnership.

Starting her trip on 8 October in Brunei, Kamikawa expressed her commitment to continue working with ASEAN countries to uphold and reinforce a free and open international order.

Kamikawa reiterated her commitment to enhance close cooperation with all ASEAN members and to ensure the success of a special ASEAN-Japan summit in Tokyo on 16–18 December, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the friendship between Japan and the 10 ASEAN countries.

Japan and ASEAN upgraded their relationship to a “comprehensive strategic partnership” in early September at a summit in Jakarta led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Regional leaders committed to deepening cooperation in several key areas, including maritime security. 

Kamikawa, who took over as Japan’s foreign minister from Yoshimasa Hayashi in a cabinet overhaul on 13 September, is now on her second overseas trip in her official role. The first one was a visit to New York last month to attend the U.N. General Assembly.