Japan PM Abe to visit Darwin in first since World War II: media

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is also the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader, attends a news conference after he won the ruling party leadership vote at the party's headquarters in Tokyo, Japan September 20, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Darwin in November in a first for a Japanese leader since the Japanese imperial army bombed the Australian city during World War II, Australian media reported on Saturday.

Abe will tour a $40 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project run by Japanese company Inpex Corp, according to media reports from Sky News and ABC News.

Abe will also use the visit to cement military ties with Australia following an agreement between the two countries to conduct joint training exercises and increase defense cooperation, the reports said.

Abe’s visit to Darwin would be the first by a Japanese leader since the Japanese military struck its key military port, killing more than 250 people across multiple bombings in 1942 and 1943, media said.

Abe will make the visit to Darwin before attending an APEC leaders’ summit in Port Moresby, ABC News said.

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