TOKYO - An official at the Japanese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday declined to confirm press reports that Prime Minister-elect Naoto Kan has allegedly decided not to attend Expo events in Shanghai.
The official, who was responding to Xinhua's enquiry over phone from the press division of the ministry and preferred not to be identified, said Kan has not made an official announcement as to his attendance at the Expo events.
Earlier in the day, Kyodo News and Jiji Press quoted government sources as saying that Kan has decided not to attend "Japan Day" events scheduled for Saturday at the World Expo in Shanghai, China. Outgoing Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is likely to attend the Shanghai Expo in Kan's stead.
The government has apparently decided against arranging Kan's China visit to the Shanghai Expo because there would be no talks between him and Chinese leaders, which would make his diplomatic debut "lack an impact," Kyodo News quoted government sources as saying.
Kyodo reported Friday that the new prime minister will likely make his diplomatic debut with his visit to the Shanghai Expo.
Kan was elected as Japan's 94th prime minister in the two-chamber Diet two days after Hatoyama's resignation over such issues as the U.S. Futenma base and political fund scandals, which sent his public support rate plunging below 20 percent.
Newly-appointed Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku on Tuesday announced the lineup of Kan's cabinet. The new cabinet will be launched and Kan is to officially assume premiership later in the day.