• Jiji


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be forced into self-isolation after attending a summit of the Group of Seven major industrial nations in the United States in June.

U.S. President Donald Trump, the chairman of this year’s G7 gathering, is eager to host the meeting in person, and the U.S. government is looking to invite the G7 leaders to the White House in late June for the meeting.

Abe has shown a positive attitude toward the prospect of an in-person summit, saying in a news conference on Monday that he would like to participate if conditions allow.

However, the United States is still suffering from the spread of the novel coronavirus, with its related death toll standing over 100,000, the highest in the world.

The U.S. government currently imposes entry restrictions on foreign nationals to prevent infections, but is expected to give an exception to the G7 leaders.

As part of its border controls, Japan is highly likely to urge Abe and members of his entourage returning from the summit to self-quarantine for 14 days on par with requests for ordinary citizens returning from overseas.

“The prime minister will likely go (to the United States) if the meeting is held, but the issue is what happens after he returns,” a senior government official said. “We can’t give special treatment to just the prime minister.”

Government officials are discussing plans for Abe to isolate himself in his official residence, which neighbors the prime minister’s office, and work remotely. However, concerns remain over his ability to communicate with members of his Cabinet and to respond to emergencies.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Thursday that Abe is still considering whether to attend the G-7 summit if it is held in person.

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