Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has postponed his three-day visit to Japan beginning on Thursday. This follows the possibility of announcement of general elections in Japan this weekend. However, his visit to Cambodia will take place as scheduled from November 18.

“There have been fast-paced internal developments in Japan. Factoring these in, the Government of India has decided that we should look for new dates. So, the Prime Minister is not going from November 15 to 18,” Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the External Affairs Ministry Gautam Bambawale said at a news conference here.

Tokyo informed New Delhi about the decision of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to dissolve Parliament and announce elections. The dates for the polls could be announced on Friday, the day Dr. Singh would be in Tokyo. Hence, New Delhi though it appropriate to call off the visit now.

Informed sources said most political parties in Japan had agreed to fix December 16 as the date for voting. Normally, the prime minister assumes office after a week. That means the elected prime minister could explore the possibility of a prime ministerial summit after the India-Asean summit in Delhi and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit on December 24.

The sources pointed out that last year too, there was a severe crunch of available dates on which the two Prime Ministers could meet.

Finally, a date just before the New Year’s Day was found suitable and Mr. Noda agreed to travel to New Delhi to ensure that the two Prime Ministers met bilaterally and at length once every year. “May be something like that could be worked out this time as well,” said the sources.

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