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Abe to visit Europe, N. America from April 22

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to media members at his office in Tokyo on April 1, 2019, to explain the name of Japan's new era, "Reiwa," announced by the government earlier in the day. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday he will visit four European countries and North America from April 22, to facilitate Japan's role as host of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka.

    Abe will tour France, Italy, Slovakia and Belgium, where he plans to meet with European Council President Donald Tusk, before traveling to the United States and Canada, the prime minister told a meeting between the government and the ruling bloc.

    The trip will last through April 29.

    The tour will serve to "strengthen our cooperation so that the G-20 summit will be a success," the premier told the meeting.

    This year represents the first time Japan has held the G-20's rotating presidency, with the summit scheduled for June 28-29 amid concerns over a global economic slowdown on the backdrop of a trade war between the United States and China.

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