Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to visit Africa in January to bolster ties with the resource-rich continent, a government source said Wednesday.
His itinerary may include visits to Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, both rich in natural resources, along with South Sudan, where Self-Defense Forces personnel have been engaged in U.N. peacekeeping operations, the source said.
A final judgment will likely be made after taking into account the schedule for the regular Diet session that convenes in January.
Abe is apparently hoping to ensure stable supplies of natural resources, including oil and natural gas, from Africa at a time when China is expanding its foothold on the continent by pouring in financial aid.
Japan hosted the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Yokohama in June, pledging to extend financial aid and nurture human resources in Africa with its high growth potential. At the conference, Abe expressed his willingness to visit Africa as soon as possible.
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