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Abe to tour E. Europe, Baltic states

Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and three Eastern European nations — Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania — for six days from Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday.

It will be the first time for a Japanese prime minister to visit any of these countries.

At a press conference, Suga said Abe plans to “hold candid talks with leaders of the countries and confirm close cooperation over urgent issues facing the international community, including those related to North Korea,” which continues nuclear and missile development.

Abe is slated to arrive in Estonia, the first destination of the six-nation tour, on Friday afternoon local time. He is expected to agree to strengthen cooperation with Estonia in the cybersecurity field. Estonia is a leader in the information technology sector.

Abe will then visit Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania in that order. He hopes to ask Bulgaria, which holds the European Union presidency in the first half of this year, to cooperate in stepping up pressure on North Korea.

In Lithuania, Abe plans to visit a museum commemorating Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, who saved thousands of Jewish people from Nazi persecution during World War II.

An economic mission comprising officials from some 30 Japanese companies, including trading and IT firms, will accompany Abe on his trip, in the hope expanding business opportunities in the Baltic and Eastern European countries.Speech

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