20 May 2024, 09:07

Japan says Saudi crown prince visit postponed over King Salman's health

TOKYO, May 20, 2024 (AFP) - Japan's top government spokesman said Monday a
planned visit this week by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
has been postponed "due to the health condition of King Salman".

The announcement came hours after the Royal Court in Riyadh said Prince
Mohammed's 88-year-old father had a lung infection and was undergoing
treatment involving antibiotics.

Prince Mohammed had been due to meet Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the
Japanese emperor on his trip from Monday, which would have been his first to
Japan since 2019.

But Saudi Arabia's government informed Tokyo late on Sunday that, due to King
Salman's health, the visit had been postponed, Yoshimasa Hayashi told

"The visit of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed to Japan will be re-
coordinated between the two countries," Hayashi said.

Saudi sources told AFP on Monday that members of the delegation would still
travel to Japan for some talks.

King Salman has been on the throne since 2015, though his 38-year-old son was
named crown prince in 2017 and acts as day-to-day ruler.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest crude exporter, has for years sought to
quell speculation over King Salman's health, which is rarely discussed.

But the Royal Court disclosed in April that he had been admitted to King
Faisal Specialist Hospital for "routine examinations". He left the hospital
later the same day.

Before that, his most recent hospitalisation had been in May 2022, when he
went in for a colonoscopy and stayed for just over a week.

The court had said earlier on Sunday the king was suffering from "high
temperature" and joint pain and would undergo medical tests.

Japan's Kishida visited Saudi Arabia last July and the focus of his talks
with Prince Mohammed was on energy, particularly around green energy and

This time "energy security and clean energy" as well as "soft power
exchanges", economic diversification and foreign affairs were on the agenda,
the foreign ministry had said.

Analysts had said Prince Mohammed, known by his initials MBS, would also be
on the lookout for more opportunities in gaming as he seeks to improve Saudi
Arabia's image.

The reputed "Call of Duty" fan has launched a multi-billion-dollar push into
the gaming sector, from eSports to game development, as part of his Vision
2030 transformation strategy for the oil-rich kingdom.

Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund holds a stake of around eight percent in
Nintendo, and the country is planning a theme park based on Japan's "Dragon
Ball" manga franchise in a new "entertainment city" outside Riyadh.


  • Latest News
  • Most View