• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to visit the United Arab Emirates in January to discuss the extension of Japanese firms’ rights in offshore oil fields, a government source said Sunday.

Some oil rights owned by Japanese companies in offshore oil fields near Abu Dhabi are set to expire next March and Tokyo hopes to extend them, as the UAE is the second-largest oil supplier to Japan after Saudi Arabia.

It would be Abe’s first trip to UAE since his visit in May 2013. He is expected to call for coordination on maintaining a stable oil supply and a strengthening of bilateral relations with the UAE regarding security and industrial development, the source said.

Abe will likely make a final decision after taking into account such factors as the timing for opening next year’s Diet session and for hosting the delayed trilateral summit involving Japan, China and South Korea, the source said.

He will also consider using the trip to visit members of the Association of the Southeast Asia Nations, the source added.

In Abu Dhabi, the general meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency is scheduled for mid-January. Tokyo is mulling sending Foreign Minister Taro Kono to make a pitch for Japan’s renewable energy technologies, including a scheme to develop a hydrogen-powered society in Fukushima Prefecture, the source said.

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