April 22 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister departed Tokyo on Monday to begin an eight-day trip during which he's expected to discuss trade with his counterparts in Europe and North America.
The tour is in preparation for the G20 summit, which is scheduled to take place in June in Osaka with Abe as chairman.
"I will exchange views on major topics thoroughly with my foreign counterparts and coordinate efforts toward making [the summit] a success," the prime minister told reporters at Haneda airport.
The trip will take Abe to France, Italy, Slovakia, Belgium, the United States and Canada. Japanese officials said the prime minister is making the world economy and trade the focus of much of his trip, with plans to speak to European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker about free trade.
The trip comes one day after Abe's ruling coalition suffered defeats in Sunday's by-elections in the House of Representatives.
"We have to pull up our socks again," he said Monday. "We'll return to our original stance of reflecting local voices in policies and make efforts to win the Upper House election for sure."