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Japan’s Prime Minister on two-day visit to TT

By Sasha Harrinanan Saturday, July 26 2014

The Official visit of Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, to Trinidad and Tobago (TT) begins at 3 pm tomorrow when he and his wife, Akie Abe, arrive at Piarco International Airport.

TT and Japan are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations this year, but Abe’s two-day visit is actually part of an 11-day Latin American tour which will see the Japanese leader also making stops in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

The main purpose of Abe’s tour is to promote economic relations between his country and Latin America.

Following a simple yet formal welcome at the airport by Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Dookeran, Abe and his wife will proceed to the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s where the “pomp and ceremony” associated with the reception of a visiting Head of State will take place. After the red carpet greetings, Abe will pay a private courtesy call on Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar at 4.45 pm before heading into bilateral talks with the PM and others for an hour.

According to the schedule provided to reporters yesterday by Government Information Services Limited (GISL), Abe will depart shortly before 6 pm for his hotel, where he will get ready for the 7 pm Welcome Banquet being hosted by Persad-Bissessar at the Diplomatic Centre.

Monday morning will see Abe meeting Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders for a summit at Hilton Trinidad. The agenda includes lobbying Japan for its support at the United Nations (UN) to give the region a seat, and therefore a “voice”, on the UN Security Council.

This was revealed by Dookeran on Thursday during the post-Cabinet press briefing. 2014 has been named as the Japan-Caricom Friendship Year. At 10.40 am on Monday, statements will be made to the media by CARICOM Chairman, and PM of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Abe and Persad-Bissessar.

Reporters were told yesterday there would be no question and answer session following these three statements.

A few hours later, at 5 pm, Abe and his wife will depart TT for the next leg of their Latin America tour.

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