Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has cancelled his plans to visit India and the Philippines. A senior government spokesman said on Wednesday that Japan’s extended holiday starting in late April came to a halt following the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases.
The Japanese government is considering a state of emergency in Tokyo and several other prefectures. According to the Indian data shown on Wednesday, there had been 295,041 new infections nationwide overnight and 2,023 deaths. These numbers are India’s highest in the pandemic.
Commenting on the media reports regarding Suga’s trip to the two countries being cancelled, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said: “In order to take all possible coronavirus countermeasures, it has been decided Prime Minister Suga won’t take any overseas trips during the Golden Week.”
Japan and India are members of a group known as the Quad, which also includes the United States and Australia. Last month, several Quad leaders pledged to work to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region. They have also decided to cooperate on maritime, cyber and economic security, issues vital to the four democracies in the face of challenges from China.
Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s India trip would have enabled him to hold his first in-person summit meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Yoshihide Suga has already held face-to-face talks with two other leaders from the Quad – U.S. President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. There’s no official announcement about the postponed date.