Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit six European countries – the three Baltic states Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and three southern European states Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania — from Jan. 12-17. He will be the first Japanese prime minister to visit these countries. Officials of some 30 Japanese companies will accompany him on this trip to meet with the leaders of these countries in their effort to start new business ventures there.
Announcing Abe’s trip at his news conference on Jan. 10, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that “in addition to broadening the frontier of Japan’s diplomacy,” Abe will “confirm close cooperation on the North Korea and other issues with the national leaders.” He will seek the leaders’ understanding on Japan’s policy of applying maximum pressure on North Korea, which persists in developing nuclear arms and missiles.
Among the companies represented on this trip are: Mitsubishi Corp. and other trading firms, IHI Corp., Japan Tobacco Inc. (JT), and Sumitomo Forestry Co. Rakuten will also join the visit to Estonia, which is renowned for IT.