Shinzo Abe mulls visits to Netherlands, Uruguay and Paraguay in December

JIJI

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering visiting the Netherlands, Uruguay and Paraguay, in addition to a planned trip to Britain, in December, government sources said Tuesday.

Abe is mulling the travel to the four countries through Dec. 7 after attending the two-day summit of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies in Buenos Aires from Nov. 30, the sources said. He may visit more countries during the tour, according to the sources.

In the Netherlands, Abe will meet with Prime Minister Mark Rutte for discussions on the their countries’ cooperation to promote free trade, following the signing of the Japan-European Union economic partnership agreement in July.

Abe will aim to boost Japan’s economic relations with Uruguay during his meeting there with President Tabare Vazquez. He also hopes to build relations with Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez, who took office in August, the sources said.

Abe would be the first Japanese prime minister to visit the two South American countries.

In Britain, Abe will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May and call again on the country to ensure that its planned exit from the EU will not affect Japanese companies operating there.

Abe and May are expected to exchange views on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, which is seen entering into force late this year. Britain is believed to be interested in joining the free trade pact agreed between Japan and 10 other countries.

Abe is slated to leave for Argentina on Nov. 29 to kick off the tour.

The prime minister is expected to make a final decision on his travel details while taking into account matters related to the Diet, according to the sources, as the current extraordinary Diet session is scheduled to end on Dec. 10.