National

Japan's Cabinet ministers to skip overseas trips during virus-curbed Golden Week

Jiji

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Cabinet are expected to cancel any overseas trips planned for Golden Week because of the coronavirus pandemic, sources familiar with the situation said.

This year, the string of annual holidays begins near the end of the month and officially lasts until May 6.

Abe declared a state of emergency last week for Tokyo and six other prefectures, making containment of the pandemic the government's top priority, the sources said.

Abe is likely to give up a plan to visit Russia to attend a May 9 ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the former Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, sources familiar with the matter said.

The prime minister "will focus on a coronavirus response during the holiday period," an aide said.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has meanwhile canceled a trip to Latin American countries including Argentina. Defense Minister Taro Kono is set to stay in Japan.

"Overseas trips by Cabinet ministers would be difficult, given reduced international flights due to the pandemic," a government source said.

Such trips will become possible once the Diet session closes for the summer on June 17, a senior Foreign Ministry official said, adding that "things depend on how the pandemic evolves."

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