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 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
Jan 18
Japan is marking the 23rd anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake that hit the western port city of Kobe and the surrounding areas. (NHK)
Jan 18
Australian rugby legend George Smith was arrested by the Tokyo police on New Year’s Eve for allegedly assaulting a taxi driver after refusing to pay his fare, authorities said Wednesday. (Japan Times)
Jan 18
Famous snow trees in the Hakkoda mountains in Aomori, northeastern Japan, part of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park, have been smeared with graffiti in fluorescent pink spray paint, it was learned Wednesday. (Jiji)
Jan 18
Major Japanese mobile carrier NTT Docomo says its subscribers will be able to pay at stores using a QR code. (NHK)
Jan 18
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have busted a so-called "JK" (joshi kosei) school girl business that is suspected of dispatching underage female employees to hotels to provide sex services, reports the Sankei Shimbun (
Jan 18
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 27-year-old male teacher for allegedly molesting a second-year high school boy on a train on Tuesday, reports Sports Nippon (Jan. 17). (
Jan 18
The Japanese government will offer an option to postpone the starting age for receiving public pensions to over 70, according to draft policy guidelines unveiled Wednesday. (Jiji)
Jan 18
Researchers have confirmed that there is a glacier in the Kakunezato snowy valley in Kashimayarigatake, a 2,889-meter mountain straddling the central Japan prefectures of Nagano and Toyama, it was learned on Wednesday. (Jiji)
Jan 18
Japan's Recruit Holdings says it will team up with Airbnb, the leading US tourist accommodation platform, to offer rental housing for travelers in Japan. (NHK)
Jan 17
Hokkaido Prefectural Police have arrested a former co-worker of a 23-year-old woman who was found murdered in her residence in Sapporo last year, reports Nippon News Network (