Abe Cancels Overseas Trip to Focus on Disaster Response

Politics

Tokyo, July 9 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has canceled his upcoming tour of Europe and the Middle East, putting priority on his government's response to recent torrential rain, mainly in western Japan, the government announced Monday.

The trip has been canceled because the government "needs to do all it can in its response to the disaster, including rescue operations and reconstruction support," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference.

At a meeting with Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, earlier in the day, Abe said there was no other choice, according to sources.

Abe now plans to visit areas affected by the disaster as early as Wednesday.

The prime minister apparently believes he would face criticism if he went overseas at a time when the death toll from the disaster is expected to increase further, the sources said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press