TOKYO, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday headed for Middle East and Africa in a move to enhance economic cooperation with regional countries so as to secure Japan 's energy import and boost its exports.
The weeklong trip will take Abe to Oman, his first leg of the four-country visit, and three African countries, namely Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Ethiopia.
Abe is expected to meet with Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said and to call for stable supply of oil and natural gas from the Gulf nation to Japan, according to local media.
Oman is the last member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that the Japanese prime minister will visit since taking office in 2012.
Japan and the GCC, which also includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar, are in talks on liberalizing trade in goods and services.
Abe is expected to announce Japan's continuous support for development of the African continent, especially in areas like infrastructure and personnel training, during his visit to the three African countries, local media reported.
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