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Kishida to visit Europe for NATO, EU summits, Middle East in July

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday he will make a four-day trip from July 11 to Lithuania to participate in a NATO summit and Belgium for talks with European Union leaders.

He told executive members of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party that he is also planning to visit Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar later in the month, aiming to deepen economic and security relations with the Middle Eastern countries.

Kishida, who became the first Japanese leader to attend a NATO summit in Spain in 2022, is set to join this year's gathering of the trans-Atlantic alliance, which is considering opening a liaison office in Tokyo in an attempt to respond to security threats in Asia.

The prime minister has expressed readiness to promote "resource diplomacy" during his four-day tour to the Middle East from July 16, with Japan depending largely on imports of fossil fuels such as crude oil.