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International relations

Japan's top diplomat kicks off tour of Central America and Cuba

Tokyo to push back against Beijing with infrastructure and vaccine aid

Cuban and Japanese flags fly on top of the plane bringing Japan's then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Havana in 2016.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi departed Thursday for a visit to four countries in Central America and the Caribbean to help the U.S. counteract Chinese influence in Washington's backyard.

Motegi is set to arrive in Guatemala, then visit Panama and Cuba before wrapping up his trip in Jamaica. While in Guatemala, he will join a virtual meeting Friday local time with counterparts from the eight-member Central American Integration System. On Tuesday local time, he will participate in a meeting of foreign ministers from the Caribbean Community.

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