Japan drops off Netanyahu's pre-election travel itinerary

While the Japan trip is now off the agenda, Netanyahu is still scheduled to go to Ukraine on August 19-20

July 30, 2019 21:43
1 minute read.
Netanyahu Shinzo Abe

PM Netanyahu and PM of Japan Shinzo Abe‏. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election travel plans have changed, and now there is no intention of meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo before the September 17 election.

Earlier this month, the Foreign Ministry was planning for a quick prime ministerial trip to Tokyo on July 29-30, which at one point also was to include a stopover in Seoul. First, the South Korean leg was canceled, and then the whole trip was scratched.

The Prime Minister’s Office, which never formally announced the trip and generally waits to announce foreign visits until the last minute, gave no reason for the change.

Netanyahu traveled to both Washington and Moscow in the three weeks before the elections in April, and also hosted Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in what was widely viewed as an effort to highlight his diplomatic strengths before the balloting. This led to speculation that he would do the same thing this time as well.

While the Japan trip is now off the agenda, Netanyahu is still scheduled to go to Ukraine on August 19-20. Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel, Gennady Nadolenko, announced the visit earlier this month on a haredi (ultra-Orthodox) radio station.

This would mark the first formal meeting between Netanyahu and Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

The other high-profile visit likely to take place before the election is a one-day visit to India.

Israel’s Ambassador to India Ron Malka told India’s ANI News Agency last week that Netanyahu will “hopefully” be visiting India and meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the “near future.”

The Indian media has said the visit will take place on September 9, just eight days before the voting.

“There is such a good chemistry between these two great leaders, and every time they meet, every visit like this, really promotes and gives a great push to our relationship,” Malka said.

Netanyahu was in India in January 2018, and had set up a one-day visit to the country in the spring, just prior to the April voting, but scratched that visit at the last minute.

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