Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe embarked Monday on a tour of Europe, the United States and Canada in preparation for the summit of the Group of 20 (G20) to be held in Osaka, Japan in June.
The eight-day tour will see Abe visit France, Italy, Slovakia, Belgium, the United States and Canada, where he will hold meetings with leaders there.
"I will exchange views on major topics thoroughly with my foreign counterparts and coordinate efforts toward making the (G20) summit a success," Abe told reporters at Tokyo's Haneda airport prior to departing.
In France, Abe is expected to offer his condolences to French President Emmanuel Macron when they meet for the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris which was badly burned by a fire recently.
Abe will likely offer Japan's support in helping with the rebuilding and restoration efforts, government sources said.
Abe, the sources said, is also keen to discuss with Macron issues of plastic waste and its damaging effects on marine life and affirm cooperation with Macron ahead of the G20 summit.
In Brussels, Abe is expected to hold talks with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
The talks are expected to be focused on trade and Britain's decision to leave the European Union, under an extended deadline of Oct. 31.
Japan has already expressed hope to Britain that its planned departure from the single currency bloc will bring the minimum amount of negative impact on Japanese firms operating in Britain.
In talks with U.S. President Donald Trump, Abe will likely seek to reaffirm the Japan-U.S. alliance with issues of defense and trade thought to be high on the agenda, officials here said.
A month after Abe's trip, Trump will visit Japan as a state guest.
Abe will return to Japan on April 29, the day before Emperor Akihito's abdication.