TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit India in August, the government said on 25 June, in line with his policy of strengthening ties with countries that share “fundamental values” such as democracy and freedom.
Abe has improved Japan’s ties with China, which had frayed under his predecessor, but he has also stressed the importance of human rights and the rule of law, comments widely seen as tacit criticism of Beijing.
The Japanese leader has described India as a country that shares “fundamental values such as freedom, democracy, basic human rights and the rule of law.”
Abe will visit India on Aug. 21-23 as part of a week-long trip that will also take him to Indonesia Aug. 19-21 and Malaysia Aug. 23-25, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said.
Japan’s ties with China deteriorated under former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, largely because of his annual visits to a Tokyo war shrine seen by Beijing as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, but Abe managed to mend fences by going to China only weeks after he took office last September.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made a reciprocal visit to Japan in April, maintaining the trend of strengthening ties.
India is Asia’s third-largest economy after Japan and China, and Abe will take along a delegation of business executives led by the head of Japan’s largest business lobby, Shiozaki said.
Japan was India’s 10th-biggest destination for its exports and also its 10th-largest source of imports in the business year that ended in March 2006, and the two countries are currently in talks aimed at forging a free-trade pact.
Global warming will be on the agenda when Abe meets his Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, given India’s position as a major producer of carbon emissions, Shiozaki said.
Abe has come up with a proposal, “Cool Earth 50”, calling for halving global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and is seeking support and participation of all big emitters.
“One of the three principles in Abe’s initiative is to have all major emitters take part, so obviously India is one of the countries he has in mind,” Shiozaki told a news conference.