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Abe lines up Canada, Argentina trips

JIJI

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is mulling a trip to Canada since he is already scheduled to travel to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly in late September, government officials said.

In addition, arrangements are under way for a possible visit by Abe to Buenos Aires to attend the International Olympic Committee’s Sept. 7 meeting to select the host of the 2020 Summer Games, which Tokyo is bidding for, the officials said Friday.

Abe would become the first Japanese prime minister to visit Canada since June 2010, when Naoto Kan, head of the then-ruling Democratic Party of Japan government, traveled to the country to attend a Group of Eight summit.

Abe hopes to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to ask for cooperation on Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade liberalization deal, as well as to discuss a bilateral economic cooperation pact.

Both Japan and Canada consider dairy products sensitive items that require special treatment in the TPP negotiations, which in principle aim to eliminate all tariffs among member nations, and Abe is hoping the two countries can present a united front on the issue.

In September, Abe is expected to fly to Buenos Aires soon after attending a Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, from Sept. 5-6 to directly solicit support from IOC members, according to the officials. Tokyo is competing with Madrid and Istanbul in the race to host the 2020 Olympics.