TOKYO, Japan- Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday that he will leave Japan on Wednesday for the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei and Australia in his first trip overseas as foreign minister since assuming the post in late December.
During the six-day tour, Kishida aims to consult with his counterparts over maritime cooperation, as China becomes increasingly assertive in its territorial and other claims in the East China Sea and South China Sea.
"Amid the changing strategic relationship in the Asia-Pacific region, securing cooperation from ASEAN countries and Australia is important to maintain and ensure peace and stability in this region," Kishida told a news conference.
The Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker expressed hope to strengthen bilateral ties with the three members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Australia by communicating closely and building trust with his counterparts.
Kishida will hold talks with his Philippine counterpart Alberto del Rosario in Manila on Thursday, his Singaporean counterpart K. Shanmugam in Singapore on Friday, his Brunei counterpart Prince Mohamed Bolkiah in Bandar Seri Begawan on Saturday, and Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr in Sydney on Sunday, the ministry said.
No Japanese foreign minister has visited the Philippines since July 2006 or Brunei since June 2005. Kishida's predecessor, Koichiro Gemba, visited Singapore in October 2011 and Australia last September.