Japan’s top government spokesman said on Monday that 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 on Monday, which would have been his first visit 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 reporters.

“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.

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 hospitalization 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 that the king was suffering from “high temperatures” 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 decarbonization.

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.

With AFP