National / Politics

Many Cabinet ministers set to head overseas as Japan's new Reiwa Era begins


A total of 12 Cabinet ministers are set to travel abroad before or during the extra-long 10-day Golden Week holiday that starts Saturday.

While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is now on a six-nation tour, and all members of his Cabinet will be in Japan on Tuesday to attend a series of rites related to the day’s abdication of Emperor Akihito, six of the ministers will leave Japan the following day, which will be the first day of the Reiwa Era.

The Heisei Era will end with the Emperor’s abdication and Reiwa will start when Crown Prince Naruhito takes the throne on May 1.

It is customary for Cabinet ministers to travel overseas during Golden Week, which runs from late April to early May.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and Toshimitsu Motegi, economic and fiscal policy minister, will visit the United States from Thursday this week to join a meeting between Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono will visit Saudi Arabia from Friday.

Abe and the three ministers will return to Japan by Monday to prepare for the Emperor’s farewells under Taiirei Seiden no Gi, an abdication ceremony to be held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Tuesday.

On May 1, after the ceremonies related to the accession, Aso, land minister Keiichi Ishii, education minister Masahiko Shibayama and three other ministers will leave the country.

Kono will depart for Africa in the early hours of May 2.

The same morning, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya, Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada and regional revitalization minister Satsuki Katayama will depart for their destinations.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga’s trip to the United States is set for May 9 to 12.

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