Japan PM Suga Yoshihide cancels trips to India, Philippines over worsening COVID-19 situation

 Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has cancelled his planned trips to India and the Philippines due to the worsening COVID-19 situation, the government`s top spokesperson said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said that plans had been made for Suga to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first time in person, with the pair slated to discuss a number of issues pertaining to economic and security issues and spanning infrastructure building, cooperation in outer space and cybersecurity, reports Xinhua news agency.

Both India and Japan are struggling to contain a rebound in novel coronavirus virusinfections, with the Japanese government saying on Wednesday that a fresh state of emergency would be declared for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures from Friday amid a surge in cases.

Japan and India have also postponed their planned foreign and defence ministerial talks that were scheduled to take place this weekend in Tokyo, owing to COVID-19 cases rising in both countries.

Suga`s visit to the Philippines, meanwhile, was supposed to mark the 65th anniversary of the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Suga has said he needs to remain in Japan to focus on the fight against the pandemic, which, in hard-hit Osaka Prefecture in western Japan, has seen the healthcare system overloaded, with not enough beds available in hospitals to treat patients suffering from severe COVID-19 symptoms.

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