British PM begins Asia visit

LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron will on Tuesday begin an official visit to Japan and South East Asia, his Downing Street office said. His office would not release further details due to security concerns, but a statement on the British embassy in Tokyo’s website earlier said he would conduct a two-day visit to Japan. While there, the British prime minister will have an audience with the Japanese emperor and meet with his counterpart Yoshihiko Noda, according to the embassy statement. Cameron is also expected to meet business leaders as Britain seeks to strengthen trade relations with its “close foreign policy partner and key investor”, said the statement. A statement released by Japan’s foreign ministry said the government “sincerely welcomes the visit of the prime minister, which will further strengthen the friendly relations between Japan and the United Kingdom.” The Conservative party leader will leave Japan on Wednesday for the South East Asian leg of his visit, the embassy said. It is Cameron’s first visit to Japan since he took office in May 2010, having had to cancel a trip arranged for last year due to the eurozone crisis.