• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe left Monday for a series of U.N. General Assembly meetings and talks with other world leaders as Japan steps up its diplomatic efforts to seek reform of the U.N. Security Council.

“I’d like to send a message that Japan aims to take leadership in revamping the United Nations as it marks its 70th anniversary next year into something more in tune with the 21st century,” Abe told reporters at Tokyo’s Haneda airport.

For Abe, the trip is an opportunity to show Japan is promoting female empowerment and to try to expand its role as a contributor to global peace.

In his address to the General Assembly on Thursday, Abe is expected to pledge $50 million in humanitarian assistance to the Middle East, which will also be used to help address the humanitarian crisis caused by the rise of the Islamic State militant group, government sources said.

The 69th session of the assembly comes as world leaders also grapple with tensions between Ukraine and Russia, and the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa.

Abe also plans to vow Japan will make contributions to creating a framework for cutting greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020.

He is expected to hold talks with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the leaders of France, Australia and Egypt before returning home Saturday.

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