Prime Minister Shinzo Abe left Monday for a three-day trip to Turkey, where he is expected to affirm closer bilateral economic cooperation, including on exports of Japanese nuclear reactors, with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The trip, following one in May when the two governments signed an accord for the peaceful use of atomic power, is also aimed at bolstering security cooperation and exploring the possibility of launching negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement, according to Japanese officials.
It is rare for a prime minister to visit the same country twice in such a short period. It is also unusual for a prime minister to make an overseas trip during the week while the Diet is in session.
Turkey is “an extremely important country in strategic meaning,” Abe told reporters at Haneda airport in Tokyo. “I would like to solidify the relationship of mutual trust between the leaders.”
Abe stressed the importance of “securing and promoting national interest through summit diplomacy” as he sought the opposition camp’s acceptance of his absence during Diet deliberations on major bills.
In a meeting Tuesday in Istanbul, Abe and Erdogan are expected to call for speeding up talks for installing reactors in Turkey in line with the bilateral nuclear accord.
Exporting nuclear reactors is a central pillar of Abe’s growth strategy.