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Tokyo 2020 Olympics

G-7 chair UK supports Tokyo hosting Olympics this summer

Johnson and Suga share concerns about China's new coast guard law

People walk by signage to promote the Olympic Games, in Tokyo on Feb. 16. The Olympics are scheduled to open on July 23 but recent polls show about 80% of the Japanese public want the Olympics canceled or postponed.   © AP

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday his country will fully support Japan's efforts to host the postponed Olympics and Paralympics this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic, in phone talks with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

Suga said Japan wants cooperation from other members of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, the ministry said. Britain holds this year's presidency of the group, which will stage a virtual summit on Friday, also involving Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the United Sates.

Britain also plans to host a physical meeting of G-7 leaders in June in Cornwall, southwest England.

Suga and Johnson agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in areas such as responding to the pandemic as well as climate change, the ministry said.

On regional matters, the leaders shared grave concerns about Myanmar, where the national military staged a coup this month and detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, while also voicing concerns about China's new coast guard law, implemented on Feb. 1.

The law explicitly allows the Chinese coast guard to use weapons against foreign ships that it sees as illegally entering its waters, sparking worries that it could target Japanese vessels off the Tokyo-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. China also claims the group of uninhabited islets, calling them Diaoyu.

On the economic front, Suga welcomed Britain's formal request to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal, grouping 11 Pacific Rim countries including Japan, Canada and Australia, the ministry said.

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