Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
left for the United States on Thursday afternoon for talks with U.S.
President Barack Obama, marking the first U.S. trip since the Abe
government was formed in December.
Abe left on a government plane from Tokyo International Airport at Haneda.
In their talks, scheduled for Friday afternoon, the two leaders are expected to discuss common issues, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership tree trade pact and North Korea's nuclear test earlier this month, informed sources said.
Abe will also seek to strengthen the Japan-U.S. relationship, which was weakened by Japan's previous government, led by the Democratic Party of Japan.
"I will work to repair the Japan-U.S. alliance that was undermined during the three years and three months (of the DPJ government). I hope the summit will demonstrate that the strong bonds (between Japan and the United States) have been restored," Abe told reporters at his official residence before leaving.
Regarding whether Japan should take part in the TPP talks, the prime minister reiterated his intention to make a decision based on his government's promise that it will not take Japan into the talks as long as member countries are required to abolish all tariffs.
After the summit, Abe plans to deliver a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an influential think tank, to explain his diplomatic and security policies.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida will accompany Abe and hold talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Abe and Kishida will return to Japan on Sunday afternoon.
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