TOKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday he will visit the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia from late next week, taking the first trips to these countries by any Japanese prime minister.
“I will widen the frontier of Japanese diplomacy while confirming our close coordination on the North Korea issue and other pressing matters facing the international community,” Abe said at a meeting between the government and ruling coalition of his Liberal Democratic Party and the smaller Komeito party.
Abe will leave Japan on Jan. 12 and return on Jan. 17.
He had planned to visit Estonia during a tour of Europe in July last year, but instead returned to Japan early to deal with the aftermath of torrential rains on the southwestern main island of Kyushu.
Bulgaria began Monday its term in the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, which it will hold for the first half of this year.