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Suga’s entourage includes First Lady Mariko Suga, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Manabu Sakai, Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeo Mori, National Security Secretariat Secretary Shigeru Kitamura, Special Advisors Hiroto Izumi and Isao Iijima, and five other secretaries.  

Suga’s choice of Vietnam as his first overseas destination is indicative of his appreaciation for Vietnam-Japan relations as well as Hanoi’s role in Tokyo’s foreign policy, according to analysts.

In 2012, Prime Minister Abe also chose to visit Vietnam first after being re-elected.

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Vietnam applauded Prime Minister Suga’s official visit, Le Thi Thu Hang, spokesperson of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a press briefing in Hanoi on October 15.

“This [visit] shows the healthy, strong, and pratical development of the extensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and Japan in many spheres,” Hang remarked.

“We believe that the visit will take place smoothly and spur the growth of the extensive strategic partnership, while contributing to the socio-economic recovery in both countries post-COVID-19.”

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Prime Minister Suga is slated to join a meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, meet with other Vietnamese leaders, and take part in some sideline activities on Monday. His official visit will end on Tuesday.