Japan PM to seek maiden U.S. visit as early as Jan. 2022 -sources

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FILE PHOTO: Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to media in Tokyo
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(Reuters) -Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has given up his initial plan to visit U.S. President Joe Biden this year due to tight schedules on the U.S. side and aims to take the trip early next year, three sources closed to the matter said.

Since taking office in October, Kishida has made it clear he seeks to hold a summit meeting with Biden as early as possible to strengthen ties, but the U.S administration's focus on the passage of a large-scale social bill made it difficult.

Kishida now aims to visit the United States sometime between the new year and Jan. 17, when the regular session of parliament will likely convene, but it could be delayed to February or even later, the government and ruling party sources said this week.

One of the sources said the delay in Kishida's U.S. visit will likely have little impact on bilateral relations as the premier already met with Biden briefly on the sidelines of the COP26 United Nations climate conference in Glasgow last month.

(Reporting by Yoshifumi Takemoto, Shashwat Awasthi; Writing by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Diane Craft and Lincoln Feast.)

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