TALLINN - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a tour of Europe to take place in the middle of January is also scheduled to visit Estonia, which would the be first time for a Japanese government leader to visit Estonia.
Abe's visit involves the three Baltic countries as well as Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, the Japanese government's sources told the Kyodo news agency.
A bilateral cyber security cooperation agreement is to be signed during the prime minister's visit to Estonia, the sources told Kyodo, noting that Estonia is known for its developed IT sector.
Japan and the European Union two weeks ago concluded free trade agreement talks, with which one of the largest free trade regions will be established. The agreement is scheduled to enter into force at the beginning of 2019. As Bulgaria will assume the presidency of the Council of the European Union at the beginning of 2018, Abe wishes to receive confirmation of the free trade agreement's entry into force.
Abe was supposed to visit Estonia already during his tour of Europe in July 2017, but returned home earlier than planned in relation to an emergency situation caused in Japan by heavy rain and floods.
This is the first time for a Japanese government leader to visit Estonia. Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko paid a visit to Estonia in May 2007. Japanese ministers and deputy ministers have also previously visited Estonia.
Estonian leaders have visited Japan multiple times -- former prime minister Taavi Roivas in 2016, former president Toomas Hendrik Ilves in 2014, former prime minister Andrus Ansip in 2010 and former president Arnold Ruutel in 2004.