Japanese Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita arrived in Thailand on Saturday to begin a nine-day Southeast Asian tour, likely to be his last as prime minister.
He was greeted by his Thai counterpart, Chatchai Choonhawan.
Takeshita, who announced last week that he will resign soon because of an influence-peddling scandal that has tainted his government, said he went ahead with the trip to “maintain continuity” in Japan’s foreign policy. Japan is responding to mounting calls for economic assistance from developing countries in Southeast Asia.
Takeshita also will visit Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, which together with Thailand and Brunei form the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations.
“On this current trip, I hope to further deepen and broaden Japan’s relations with ASEAN as well as our bilateral relations with the individual ASEAN countries,” Takeshita said upon arriving.
He is scheduled to hold talks Monday with Chatchai and meet with King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand’s constitutional monarch.