Japanese FM to visit Central Asian countries

Japanese FM to visit Central Asian countries

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi will visit two Central Asian countries, Mongolia and two Pacific island nations, as Tokyo seeks cooperation in response to Russia's war in Ukraine and other issues.

Hayashi will take a five-day trip through Monday, visiting Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia. He will leave for a three-day tour of Fiji and Palau on May 6.

According to Foreign Ministry officials, he will meet with his counterparts and leaders of the countries.

Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have close relations with both Russia and Ukraine.

The issue of North Korea's past abductions of Japanese nationals will be dealt with in Mongolia by Hayashi, the officials said. Ulaanbaatar keeps close ties with Pyongyang.

A vision also advocated by the United States is seen as a counter to China's growing military and economic clout in the region, which comes as Japan continues to promote a Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy.