Foreign minister wants his own plane for overseas trips
Japan Today -- Dec 20
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Tuesday he needs a better way to travel overseas to compete with China's diplomatic clout, including potentially the purchase of a dedicated airplane

At present, the foreign minister and his staff travel on commercial flights, while the prime minister and members of the imperial family use government aircraft for overseas trips.

Kono said that since early 2013, he and his predecessor Fumio Kishida have made only about a third of the number of overseas trips that Chinese counterpart Wang Yi has made during the same period.

While noting that Wang is free from the parliamentary obligations demanded of a Japanese foreign minister, Kono said the government "needs to think carefully about how to close that gap."

"Having to use commercial flights...is quite a big handicap when thinking of Japan's national interest," Kono said.

"We could buy a dedicated plane, rent or lease one, or borrow private-sector business jets when not in use; there are various different options to consider," he said.

On Monday, Kono had told a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's Foreign Affairs Division that costs for an airplane could be included in the budget for fiscal 2019.

He said he would not mind a small or used aircraft, and suggested Gulfstream Aerospace Corp's G650ER due to its long range without needing to refuel despite its small passenger capacity.

外務大臣の外遊にも専用機が必要だと訴えました。 河野外務大臣:「中国の王毅外務大臣は(過去5年間に)延べ262カ国を訪問をしている。ほぼ3倍近い訪問国の差がついている。
News sources: Japan Today, ANNnewsCH
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