January 28, 2014 2:00 pm JST

Australia's prime minister mulls visit to Japan in early April

KAORI TAKAHASHI, Nikkei staff writer

SYDNEY -- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is mulling a visit to Japan in early April to discuss the economic partnership agreement between the two countries. Tokyo and Canberra are making arrangements.


   He and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would also reconfirm their countries' reinforced security partnership, meant to lend stability to the Asia-Pacific region amid increasingly provocative Chinese military operations.

      Abbott has expressed high expectations for Australia's relationship with Japan since coming to office in September. He describes Japan as Australia's best friend in Asia and wants to make the country the first destination on an Asian tour that will also take him to China and other countries.

     Abbott also plans to bring Australian business representatives with him for exchanges with their Japanese counterparts.

     In a related matter, Australian media reported Tuesday that Abe is planning to make an official visit in July. It would be the first time for a Japanese prime minister to visit Australia since Junichiro Koizumi did so in 2002.