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Japan's Abe to visit US, France on pre-G20 tour

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Monday plans to visit the United States, Canada and France this month before his country hosts the G20 later this year.

The tour from April 22 to 29 will also include stops in Italy, Belgium and Slovakia, a foreign ministry official said.

The trip comes ahead of long-awaited trade talks between Washington and Tokyo, as US President Donald Trump looks to negotiate a bilateral deal and threatens auto tariffs.

The visit to France comes at a sensitive time, with ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, who holds French citizenship, back behind bars in Tokyo.

He was re-arrested last week while out on bail and faces multiple charges of financial misconduct.

Abe said the trip was intended to "affirm close co-operation for success in the G20 summit in Osaka", which will be held June 28 and 29.

Trump is also expected to visit Japan in May to become the first foreign head of state to meet Japan's new emperor, Naruhito, who will be enthroned on May 1.