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Kamikawa visits African and Asian countries to deepen ties; Hoping to discuss economic cooperation

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Africa and Asia Yoko Kamikawa will visit during the Golden Week holiday period
*A visit to France from May 1 to 3. All dates are local time

Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa will visit five emerging and developing countries in Africa and Asia during Golden Week with the aim of strengthening bilateral ties with these countries as China also increases its presence in these regions.

Kamikawa will exchange ideas with senior officials of the respective countries on issues such as economic cooperation and the realization of a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’.

Kamikawa left Haneda Airport on a commercial plane on Friday evening and arrived at the first destination, Madagascar, on Saturday morning local time. Madagascar is located along an important shipping route between the Indian Ocean and Africa. It has never before been visited by a Japanese foreign minister. Kamikawa and her Madagascar counterpart, Rasata Rafaravavitafika, held a meeting over lunch on Saturday.

In Africa, Kamikawa will visit Ivory Coast on Sunday and Monday and Nigeria from Monday to Wednesday. Ivory Coast is home to the Port of Abidjan, a major regional transshipment hub in West Africa. Nigeria has the largest population in Africa, with more than 200 million people.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China is the largest trading partner of these three countries. Japan plans to invite leaders of African countries to Yokohama and hold the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in August 2025. A preparatory ministerial meeting for the event will also take place in Tokyo in August and Kamikawa plans to ensure good communication with key figures in key African countries ahead of the ministerial meeting.

After visiting these African countries, Kamikawa will attend a meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris. She will then visit Sri Lanka and Nepal on May 4 and 5.

Sri Lanka received huge loans from China and had problems repaying them. As a result, the country granted a 99-year lease for the Hambantota port to a Chinese company. Kamikawa is expected to announce Japan’s support measures to Sri Lanka during her visit to the country to resolve the credit problem.

Nepal is on good terms with neighboring China. Japan has been providing support to Nepal for years and hopes to deepen bilateral ties by further supporting the country’s economic development.

At a press conference Kamikawa held Friday afternoon before leaving Japan, she mentioned the visits, saying: “Economy, the sea and connections are common themes for the visits. I will practice diplomacy that serves as a bridge between the Global South and like-minded countries, including the Group of Seven countries.”

Support for companies entering Africa

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to assign wide-area economic officers, tasked with helping Japanese companies expand into Africa, to six diplomatic missions in Africa and other regions where Japanese companies have offices to to monitor activities in Africa, such as Europe. and the Middle East.

The officers will be stationed at Japanese embassies in South Africa, Britain, India and Turkey, as well as Japanese consulates general in Istanbul and Dubai.

Although African markets are expected to have high economic growth potential, there are many issues to consider, including security and other areas. The officials will provide relevant information to companies and perform diplomatic duties with countries where Japanese companies operate.



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