The meeting is also likely to touch on China’s escalating assertiveness in the East and South China seas, which have become a growing concern for Tokyo and Washington.
Japan this month issued a state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas to tame a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases. The measure includes a request for restaurants and bars to close by 8 p.m. although there are currently no penalties for non-compliance.
Japan’s parliament, the Diet, elected last week Yoshihide Suga as the new prime minister after the surprise resignation of Shinzo Abe in August. This throws up several uncertainties and opportunities in the domestic and international spheres.
Yoshihide Suga was elected as Japan's prime minister on Wednesday, becoming the country's first new leader in nearly eight years and facing a raft of challenges including reviving an economy battered by the COVID-19 crisis.
Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday held his first telephone call with his South Korean counterpart since taking office, telling President Moon Jae-in that the neighbours should work to resolve their strained relations.
Japan’s ruling party on Monday elected chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga as its new leader, making him all but certain to replace Shinzo Abe as the country’s next prime minister.
The one-day summit is expected to yield steps diversifying supply chains seen as over-reliant on China and a $2 billion commitment from Japan to work with the United States on alternatives to the 5G network of Chinese firm Huawei, a senior US official said.
"In order to restore sense of safety, I will get the coronavirus pandemic, which has raged worldwide and is now severely affecting Japan, under control as soon as possible,” Suga said. "I will stand at the frontline of the battle while I get the people's cooperation."
Japan saw a record 4,520 new cases on Dec.31, prompting the capital, Tokyo, and three neighbouring prefectures to seek an emergency declaration from the national government. The region now accounts for about half of new nationwide cases.