Japanese PM Fumio Kishida visits Ottawa to discuss economy, trade, China and Russia

Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida is visiting Ottawa today and will meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss Canada’s new Indo-Pacific strategy, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other key issues as Japan assumes the G7 presidency. 

Kishida is at the back end of a world tour that has seen him travel to Italy, France, the U.K. and now Canada before moving on to the U.S. as he prepares for the G7 leaders’ summit in his hometown of Hiroshima in May. 

“Being faced with Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which shook the very foundation of the international order, the international community is now at a historic turning point,” Kishida said in a video statement before his global tour. 

“The G7 firmly rejects … the threat or use of nuclear weapons and upholds the international order based on the rule of law.” 

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said that the two leaders will discuss their vision for a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” and will discuss initiatives to grow their economies while tackling issues around “Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine.”

Kishida begins his day just before noon by sitting down to meet with Trudeau, International Trade Minister Mary Ng, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne.

After that Trudeau and Kishida will attend a luncheon before hosting a joint news conference at 2:30 p.m. when the leaders will take questions from Canadian and Japanese media. CBC.ca will be carrying the event live. 

Seeking energy security

This is the first Canadian visit by an Asian head of government since Ottawa launched its Indo-Pacific strategy last November, which called for closer ties with countries that can counterbalance China’s influence.

Japan is similarly trying to pivot away from a reliance on China and Russia for electricity and food.

To that end, Kishida has created the position of a minister of state for economic security, and is trying to bring nuclear reactors back online after dozens were halted following the 2011 Fukushima disaster. 

The country is so reliant on Russian fuel that G7 countries gave Japan an exemption on a measure that caps the price of Russian oil below market rates, to avoid Japan facing the same scramble for energy that Europe undertook last year.

The PMO statement said Trudeau and Kishida will discuss how they can “implement joint priorities” on a range of issues including “energy security.”

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