While on a tour of Europe scheduled to take place in mid-January, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also expected to visit Estonia, marking the first such visit to the country by a Japanese head of government.
Abe's visit will include the three Baltic countries as well as Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, the Japanese government's sources told Kyodo News.
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.
Two weeks ago, Japan and the EU concluded free trade agreement talks which will establish one of the largest free trade regions in the world. The agreement is scheduled to enter into force at the beginning of 2019. As Bulgaria will take over the presidency of the Council of the EU at the beginning of 2018, Abe is seeking to receive confirmation of the free trade agreement's entry into force.
While Abe had been scheduled to visit Estonia during his tour of Europe in July, the visit was canceled and the Japanese prime minister returned home early as parts of Japan suffered flooding after being hit by a typhoon.
Abe's visit will mark the first time a Japanese government leader has visited Estonia. Emperor Akihito and Empres Michiko visited Estonia in May 2007, and Japanese ministers and deputy ministers have also previously visited the country.
Estonian leaders have visited Japan multiple times, including former Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform) in 2016, former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in 2014, former Prime Minister Andrus Ansip (Reform) in 2010, and former President Arnold Rüütel in 2004.
Editor: Aili Vahtla