FOCUS: Kishida Struggling for Diplomatic Achievements


Tokyo, Jan. 13 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is struggling to produce results in his "new-era realism diplomacy," hampered by the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant of the novel coronavirus around the globe.

The persistent COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Japanese leader to be patient on the diplomatic front, informed sources said.

It remains to be seen whether Kishida will be able to reap gains from face-to-face diplomatic events, which are highly appealing to the public, ahead of this summer's election for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament, the sources added.

"I'm keen to step up in-person summit diplomacy," Kishida said in his New Year's press conference Jan. 4.

But at the same time, Kishida announced a decision to give up his plans to visit the United States or Australia before this year's regular Diet session begins next Monday. Kishida held an online meeting with Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Jan. 6, instead of visiting the country for an in-person bilateral summit.

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