Kishida unlikely to attend nuclear weapon review meeting in U.S. in person

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is unlikely to in person attend a review conference on the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or NPT, starting Jan. 4 in New York, government sources said Sunday.

Kishida increasingly believes that it is difficult to visit New York mainly because coronavirus infection cases are surging in the city, according to the sources.

An NPT review conference is held every five years.

The leader, who took office in early October, has pledged to work on realizing a world without nuclear weapons. In a lecture meeting Thursday, Kishida said that he will do his best for the success of the upcoming meeting, indicating his eagerness to become the first prime minister to take part in an NPT review conference.

Kishida has been elected to the House of Representatives from a constituency comprising parts of the city of Hiroshima, which was flattened by the U.S. atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945, in the closing days of World War II.

If he decides not to attend the January meeting in person, he will consider options such as delivering a video speech from Japan during the conference, the sources said.

Kishida is also exploring the possibility of visiting Washington to hold a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden. But work to arrange the visit has run into difficulties.

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