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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Japan as he considers presidential bid

Examining the field for the 2024 presidential race
Examining the field for the 2024 presidential race 06:13

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Japan on Monday to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other officials as part of his four-nation trade mission seen as an attempt by the potential Republican presidential candidate to raise his diplomatic profile.

During their meeting Monday at the Prime Minister's office, Kishida told DeSantis that reinforcement of Japan-U.S. ties is key to ensuring the peace, stability and prosperity of the international society, and the two exchanged views on regional issues, according to a Japanese Foreign Ministry statement.

After meeting with Kishida, DeSantis was asked about trailing former President Donald Trump in hypothetical 2024 Republican primary polls. 

"I'm not a candidate so we'll see if and when that changes," he replied. 

DeSantis is considered the biggest challenger to former President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election. The Florida governor is expected to make a final decision about entering the race sometime after his state's legislative session ends in early May.

He has already been meeting with Republican officials and aggressively touring battleground states in the U.S.

DeSantis' trip, announced Thursday, also includes South Korea, Israel and the United Kingdom. He said it's aimed at strengthening economic relationships and demonstrating Florida's position as an economic leader. It's his first overseas trip since 2019.

Kishida welcomed DeSantis' first trip to Japan and expressed his expectations that the visit will contribute to further strengthening of Japan's relationship with the United States as well as Florida, the Foreign Ministry said.

During his two-day visit in Tokyo, DeSantis was also scheduled to hold talks with Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and business executives. He is also expected to meet with South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. He is set to deliver a keynote address April 27 in Israel at an event marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

DeSantis is traveling with state officials and his wife, Casey DeSantis.

Aaron Navarro contributed to this report.

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