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Japanese prime minister heads to Africa

Associated Press

January 8, 2014

(AP) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is heading to Africa, keeping up a busy overseas travel schedule designed to boost Japan's global profile in the face of China's rise.


Abe departed Thursday and will make a brief visit to the Mideast state of Oman before heading to the Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Ethiopia.


He has traveled more widely than his immediate predecessors in a bid to expand Japan's diplomatic reach and help Japanese companies win business overseas.


The unofficial backdrop to his whirlwind travel is China's rise, and the relative decline of a once ascendant Japan during two decades of economic stagnation. Japan is a major aid donor to Africa, but China's investment and trade has powered Africa's economic growth in the past decade.


Associated Press