Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Russia and China next month for talks with the two nations’ leaders. Abe will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his trip to Vladivostok in Russia’s Fast East slated for Sept. 2 and 3. The talks between Abe and Putin are expected to focus on a the two countries’ territorial dispute over four Russian-controlled islands off Hokkaido. The prime minister plans to tout Tokyo’s economic cooperation program in the talks with the Russian president as he struggles to find a breakthrough on the stalled territorial issue. Putin expressed interest in the economic cooperation program when Abe outlined it during an earlier meeting in May, sources said.
Tokyo is also working to schedule a meeting between Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping when the prime minister visits Hangzhou, China, for summit of the Group of 20 major economies scheduled for Sept. 4 and 5. Abe had said Japan would work with China for a successful G-20 summit when he held talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang last month. But the mood of cooperation may have shifted due to repeated intrusions by Chinese coast guard and fishing vessels into Japanese territorial waters off the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea beginning earlier this month. The focus of any Abe-Xi talks would likely be on putting bilateral ties back on track after the Sino-Japanese relationship soured over the disputed South China Sea and other issues.
Abe will also kick off a two-day visit to Kenya starting Saturday for talks with leaders of African countries at a session of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development summit. He will be accompanied by executives from 80 Japanese companies and groups looking to Africa in a bid to win trade and investment opportunities.