Japanese PM to visit NZ

22:44, Jul 03 2014

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make an official visit to New Zealand next week.

The visit was an opportunity to mark New Zealand's "longstanding links with Japan through government, business and personal ties", Prime Minister John Key said.

The two PMs will hold talks on Monday in Auckland and meet business representatives from both countries.

Abe will then travel to Christchurch to pay his respects to the 28 Japanese citizens who lost their lives in the February 2011 earthquake.

"I have met Mr Abe a number of times overseas since he came to office in 2012, and I very much look forward to welcoming him to New Zealand," Key said.

Abe visited New Zealand in 1985, accompanying his father, foreign minister Shintaro Abe, and prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.

He visited in 1997 as a member of the Japanese Diet.

Abe's grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, was in 1957 the first Japanese prime minister to visit New Zealand.

The last time a Japanese prime minister visited was when Junichiro Koizumi travelled here in 2002. 

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