Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering holding a summit with Palau President Tommy Remengesau by next spring in Japan, ahead of the planned visit to the Pacific island country by the Emperor and Empress, government sources said Saturday.
Abe aims to lay the groundwork for the trip by the Imperial Couple, expected around April, the sources said.
Japan once governed the islands, where a fierce battle was fought during World War II.
The Emperor and Empress hope to console the souls of the war dead during the trip next year, the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.
Remengesau is also expected to meet with the Emperor during his possible visit to Tokyo and extend an official invitation to the couple.
The timing of the president’s visit remains uncertain, but the sources said it could be sometime between January and March. Abe last held a bilateral summit with Remengesau in December 2013 in Tokyo.
In 2005, the Imperial Couple visited Saipan, another island that Japan controlled until its defeat in the war, to mark the 60th anniversary.
Separately, Abe and Remengesau are scheduled to co-chair a summit meeting of Japan and Pacific island nations next May in Fukushima Prefecture.