Prime Minister Narendra Modi left on Monday evening to visit Tokyo for attending the state funeral of former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe on September 27. Representatives from over 100 countries, including more than 20 heads of state/government are expected to participate in the event.
PM Modi and Abe enjoyed a relationship that was beyond the realms of protocol that exist between any two heads of government. It was a rather personal chemistry between the two leaders that also witnessed India-Japan bilateral ties entering a new phase. The interaction between prime ministers Modi and Abe developed a personal bond through their meetings and interactions spanning over a decade, beginning from PM Modi’s visit to Japan in 2007 as chief minister of Gujarat.
In a tweet before leaving for Japan, PM Modi fondly remembered his friend.
I am traveling to Tokyo tonight to participate in the State Funeral of former PM Shinzo Abe, a dear friend and a great champion of India-Japan friendship.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 26, 2022
During a very brief day-long visit, PM Modi will attend the state funeral ceremony at Budokan, followed by a greeting occasion at Akasaka Palace. The PM will also meet with the family of former PM Abe and his wife, Akie Abe. During PM Modi’s visit to Japan in October 2018, Abe had hosted him at his personal villa near Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi. Prime Minister Modi was the first foreign leader to be invited to the villa. India had announced one-day national mourning on July 9 as a mark of respect for Abe.
Abe made significant contributions to deepening India-Japan relations, turning a largely economic relationship into a broad, comprehensive, and strategic partnership, making it pivotal for the two countries’ and region’s security. His famous “Confluence of Two Seas" speech in the Indian Parliament in 2007 laid the ground for the emergence of the Indo-Pacific region as a contemporary political, strategic, and economic reality. PM Abe’s contribution to India-Japan relations was recognised by the conferment upon him of the prestigious Padma Vibhushan in 2021.
The visit will be an opportunity for PM Modi to honour the memory of former PM Abe, whom he considered a dear friend and a great champion of India-Japan ties. The two leaders elevated India-Japan relations to the status of Special Strategic and Global Partnership in 2014.
This visit of PM Modi to Japan comes after PM Kishida’s visit to India for the India-Japan Summit meeting in March, and PM Modi’s visit to Japan for the Quad Leaders’ Summit in May this year. These meetings underscored the two leaders’ commitment towards deepening India-Japan ties, particularly in the context of shaping a post-pandemic regional and global order.
The bilateral meeting between PM Modi and PM Kishida during the upcoming visit will be an opportunity for the two leaders to reaffirm their commitment to further strengthening the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership.
With the India-Japan diplomatic relationship celebrating its 70th anniversary, both sides have expanded partnership in trade and investment, defence and security, climate change, infrastructure, energy, critical and emerging technologies, and human resources, among other areas. India and Japan also see a convergence in their visions of the Indo-Pacific region.