15:15 / 15.04.2022
Foreign Minister of Japan to visit Uzbekistan in April

Foreign Minister of Japan Yoshimasa Hayashi is planning to visit Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan starting in late April. 

Photo: Reuters

The aim of the visit is to counter growing Chinese clout in Central Asia, Kyodo news said citing a source in the government.

Tokyo also plans to host a meeting of foreign ministers from five countries in the region, also involving Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, by the end of June to discuss measures to enhance their economic relations.

Japan and the five countries launched the foreign ministerial dialogue in 2004 for regional development. In 2020, they held a videoconference, agreeing to cooperate in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

China continues to invest in large-scale infrastructure in Central Asia through its "Belt and Road" initiative. President Xi Jinping held online talks with leaders from the same five nations in January, discussing regional security.

At the planned meeting, Japan is expected to warn of such financing by China amid concerns it could saddle recipient countries with loans they cannot repay. Hayashi will likely highlight the quality of Japanese investment and also announce assistance in fighting the pandemic.

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