Abe eyes April 28 summit with Obama, may address Congress


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to hold a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on April 28, a day after their defense and foreign affairs chiefs are scheduled to hold security talks, Japanese government sources said.

Abe has informed a senior ruling party lawmaker of a planned eight-day trip to the United States from April 26 that will also take him to Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles, the sources said Thursday.

At the summit with Obama, Abe is expected to tell him that Japan aims to deepen the alliance with the United States through security bills his administration to submit to the Diet in mid-May.

The leaders are likely to affirm that Abe’s policy of “proactive contribution to peace” based on the principle of international cooperation and Obama’s strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, will together contribute to regional stability and prosperity.

While in the U.S. , Abe will pitch Japan’s shinkansen and maglev train technology as major U.S. cities are planning to introduce high-speed railway systems, according to the sources.

Abe will also become the first Japanese leader to address a joint session of Congress, possibly on April 29, according to a U.S. legislative source.

Previous prime ministers have given speeches there, but never a joint session.

Details of Abe’s speech are not yet known, but the U.S. source said he is likely to refer to the actions of the Japanese military before and during World War II.

Abe expressed his “most sincere condolences toward the many souls who lost their lives” when he touched on the Australian victims of the war in his speech at the parliament in Canberra last July.

The U.S. legislative source said it is expected that Abe in Congress will use similar or stronger language compared with the Canberra speech.

In the so-called two-plus-two security talks in Washington, the foreign and defense ministers of the two countries are expected to agree to revise their defense cooperation guidelines, the sources said.

During the visit to Boston, Abe plans to interact with Harvard University students. He may visit a site linked to the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy with a guide of his daughter, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy.

As part of the visit to San Francisco, the prime minister plans to tour information technology companies in Silicon Valley.

In Los Angeles, he plans to meet with Japanese-Americans, including those subjected to discriminatory treatment during the war.