January 9, 2019
Tokyo--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe left Tokyo on Wednesday morning to visit the Netherlands and Britain, planning to urge his British counterpart, Theresa May, to avoid a no-deal Brexit.
"I will firmly convey Japan's thoughts" about Britain's looming exit from the European Union, Abe told reporters at Tokyo International Airport at Haneda before boarding the government plane.
Abe also said that during the visit, he is eager to have discussions on a wide range of issues including the global economy and trade, and secure support from the two European countries for Japan's hosting of a Group of 20 summit in June.
While Britain is a G-20 member, the Netherlands will be invited as a guest to the G-20 summit to be held in the western city of Osaka.
Abe, together with his wife, Akie, is scheduled to arrive in the Netherlands on Wednesday afternoon local time. He will have a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte later in the day, in which they are expected to agree to enhance bilateral economic cooperation.
Abe and May will hold talks on Thursday afternoon, before May faces a parliamentary vote on her government's unpopular Brexit deal with the EU as early as Tuesday.
The Japanese and British leaders are expected to discuss measures to prevent Britain's March 29 departure from the EU from negatively affecting Japanese companies, as well as ways to promote free trade and strengthen security cooperation between the two countries.
They are also expected to reaffirm their countries' cooperation on the G-20 summit and issues related to North Korea.
Abe may face criticism from the British and Dutch leaders over his government's recent decision to quit the International Whaling Commission and resume commercial whaling, as the two countries are opposed to whaling, observers said.
He will return to Japan on Friday. Jiji Press
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