Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will visit Asian and Oceanian countries for talks with his counterparts on resuming personnel exchanges that have been stalled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and cooperating in the fight against infectious diseases.

He will visit Singapore and Malaysia between Wednesday and Saturday, and Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar on Aug. 20-25.

Also on the agenda at the series of meetings will be the situation in the South China Sea, where tensions are growing over China’s territorial claims. In addition, Motegi hopes to share with his counterparts the vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region, informed sources said.

In Singapore, Motegi is slated to pay a courtesy call on the country’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong.

Motegi visited Britain for four days through Saturday, mainly for negotiations on a trade deal between Japan and Britain, making his first overseas trip since the novel coronavirus began spreading in earnest earlier this year.

For the upcoming tours, Motegi will limit the number of officials accompanying him, and will take thorough measures against the virus, including undergoing a polymerase chain reaction test when leaving Japan and upon returning home.

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