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Vice foreign minister heads to U.S. to arrange Abe visit

Kyodo

Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai will visit the United States on Monday to meet with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and other officials to pave the way for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s trip to Washington, government sources said Sunday.

Abe had decided to make the United States the destination for his first official overseas visit after taking office.

Tokyo requested that the meeting with President Barack Obama take place around Jan. 21, when Obama is to be inaugurated for his second term. However, Washington said the timing was not convenient.

Kawai and Burns are expected to handle the scheduling and agendas for any meetings between the two leaders.