• Kyodo

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Japan plans to offer around ¥1 billion ($9.76 million) in grant aid to Cuba for purchasing medical equipment when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits the country next week, a government source said Thursday.

Abe and Cuban President Raul Castro are expected to confirm during talks their intention to set up a center for training medical professionals in Cuba. The move is aimed at familiarizing Cuban doctors with Japanese medical practice and paving the way for the sale of Japanese equipment.

Abe’s trip to Cuba, the first by a Japanese prime minister, will follow his attendance at the U.N. General Assembly in New York where he will deliver a speech. He is also scheduled to participate in a U.N. summit on refugee and migrant issues.

Abe is scheduled to leave Japan for New York on Sunday and return from Cuba on Sept. 24.

The resumption of diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba in July last year following a 54-year freeze has prompted a flurry of efforts worldwide to strengthen political and economic relations with the country. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is also scheduled to visit Cuba this month.