Japan's foreign minister leaves for Spain, France amid China row
TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's foreign minister left for Spain and France on Tuesday, where he was expected to press Tokyo's case in its spat with China.
In a message on his ministry's Facebook page, Mr Fumio Kishida noted the visits were his first of the new year.
"I will continue to visit foreign countries actively this year, protect national interests and press ahead with diplomacy that contributes to world peace and stability," he said.
The trip comes as Japan is locked in an increasingly bitter row with China, with Beijing accusing nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of whitewashing his country's empire-building past with a visit to a controversial spot that honours convicted war criminals.