Why Japan couldn’t send its foreign minister to a key G20 meeting

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi’s absence from the Group of 20 foreign ministers meeting, which finished Thursday in New Delhi, due to parliamentary conventions has become a matter of controversy in Japan.

Amid increasing geopolitical tensions — over China’s muscle-flexing in East Asia and Russia’s ceaseless attacks in Ukraine — the government’s decision to give priority to parliamentary debate drew a negative response, as Hayashi’s absence was seen as possibly jeopardizing the country’s diplomatic efforts ahead of May’s Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima.

Japan dispatched Deputy Foreign Minister Kenji Yamada on Hayashi’s behalf — thus making it the only country in the G20 that failed to send its top diplomat to the meeting.

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