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Abe may visit U.S., Canada, Europe ahead of May G-7 summit in Mie

JIJI

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering visiting the United States, Canada and several European countries ahead of the Group of Seven summit that Japan will host in May.

With Japan serving as 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 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, administration sources said Sunday.

The summit is scheduled to be held May 26 and 27 in Shima, Mie Prefecture. The G-7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S.

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

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.

The sources said Abe will likely make a final decision on the timing of the visits while taking into account progress in upcoming Diet 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, they said.

In June 2008, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda visited European countries ahead of the Group of Eight summit a month later in Toyako, Hokkaido, when Russia was still included.

Between late April and early May 2000, Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori toured the seven other G-8 nations in preparation for the summit in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, that July.