Japan PM may visit US, Europe ahead of G7 summit

Tokyo, Jan 4 (IANS) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering visiting the US, Canada and several European countries ahead of the G7 summit in May.

With Japan serving as Group of Seven (G-7) chair this year, Abe would use the visits to coordinate views with and seek cooperation from the leaders of the other six countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the US — on major issues that will be discussed at the summit. These include the fight against terrorism, the situations in the East China and South China seas, and the global economy.

The summit is scheduled to be held May 26-27 in Shima, Mie prefecture, the Japan Times reported.

If Abe attends the Nuclear Security Summit, which starts March 31 in Washington, he may also visit Canada on that trip.

Abe may then visit Britain, France, Germany and Italy, as well as Belgium, where the European Union has its headquarters, during the Golden Week holiday period starting in late April.

Sources said Abe will likely make a final decision on the timing of the visits while taking into account progress in the upcoming parliament debates on the fiscal 2016 budget.

Abe’s possible visit to Russia for talks on the territorial dispute and a trilateral summit with China and South Korea could also affect the timing of the visits, the sources said.

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