Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Heads For Us

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary heads for US

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is heading to the United States, where he will meet with senior government officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Suga left Japan on a four-day trip to the US on Thursday.

Suga is expected to discuss with US officials how to deal with North Korea following the country's launch of projectiles on Saturday. He plans to reaffirm closer cooperation toward the North's complete abandonment of nuclear arms and missiles.

Suga also plans to convey Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's intention to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without preconditions to resolve abductions of Japanese nationals by the North. Suga will seek US support for an early resolution of the matter.

Suga wants to confirm that Japan and the US will take steps to reduce the burden of hosting US military facilities on the southern Japanese prefecture of Okinawa, and to realign US forces in Japan.

Suga will also deliver a speech in New York on the abduction issue.

It is rare for a chief cabinet secretary -- who is in charge of government crisis management -- to leave Japan on official business. His last official trip abroad was to Guam in October 2015.