Prime Minister Shinzo Abe left Thursday to attend the Group of 20 summit in Argentina and hold bilateral talks with world leaders on the sidelines.
“I would like to lead discussions on strengthening the free and fair trade system and the sustainable growth of the global economy” during the G20 summit, Abe told reporters before his departure.
During his six-day trip, Abe is expected to hold separate talks with U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday, and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, the Japanese government said.
In the two-day G20 summit in Buenos Aires from Friday, Abe will likely stress the importance of promoting free trade as Japan has taken a leading role in formulating the 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, Japanese officials said.
Japan will take over the rotating G20 presidency for the first time next year, with a leaders summit expected to be convened in Osaka on June 28 and 29.
With Trump, Abe looks to reaffirm bilateral cooperation toward the denuclearization of North Korea and the settlement of the issue over past abductions of Japanese nationals by Pyongyang, according to the officials.
The two leaders will likely discuss upcoming negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement, which they agreed in September to start. Trump is likely to push Abe to strike a deal with a broader framework involving goods and services, despite their agreement to start talks on goods only.
With Xi, Abe may talk about North Korea and other global issues, including the escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing, the officials said.
Abe is scheduled to meet with Putin again, just over two weeks after they agreed in Singapore to accelerate talks to conclude a postwar peace treaty based on the 1956 joint declaration between Japan and the Soviet Union. A long-standing territorial dispute has prevented Tokyo and Moscow from signing such a pact.
On Sunday, Abe is scheduled to head to Uruguay and Paraguay for talks with President Tabare Vazquez and President Mario Abdo Benitez, respectively. He will be the first Japanese prime minister to visit the Latin American countries.
Abe is scheduled to return home Tuesday evening.
He had planned to visit Britain and the Netherlands after the South American tour but gave up the plan out of consideration for a tight Diet schedule, government sources said.