German chancellor visits Japan on first Asia trip, overlooks China
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived in Tokyo on Thursday, where he would meet Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during his first trip to Asia since assuming office in December.
Mr Scholz, who departed Berlin early Wednesday evening, would only spend roughly 20 hours in Tokyo, less than the duration of the flight there and back again.
He would attend an event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan.
Mr Scholz’s trip came amid warnings that Germany’s export-oriented economy the biggest in Europe was at risk of recession due to the war in Ukraine.
It was unusual for Mr Scholz to choose Japan as his first travel destination in the region. His predecessors, Angela Merkel and Gerhard Schröder went to China first.
Mr Scholz was accompanied by a 10-person-strong business delegation.
His talks with Mr Kishida was also expected to deal with the Ukraine crisis.
Japan had become one of only three Asian countries to impose sanctions on Russia, alongside South Korea and Singapore.
Japan’s pacifist constitution banned arms deliveries.
Thus, it was a big step for the country that, for the first time, it was making equipment available to a warring party, including bulletproof vests, steel helmets and winter combat clothing.
Also protective clothing against chemical weapons and commercial drones for reconnaissance all directly from the stocks of its own military.
Japan was a member of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised democracies.
Germany is chairing the 2022 G7 and would host the G7 summit in July in Bavaria.
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