Merkel to visit Japan with German business leaders

Merkel to visit Japan with German business leaders

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to visit Japan this week along with a group of German business leaders.

Merkel's two-day visit starting on Monday will be her first since she attended a G7 summit in central Japan in 2016, and her fifth since she assumed office in 2005.

During her stay in the country, Merkel is scheduled to visit the Emperor at the Imperial Palace. She also plans to hold talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The leaders are expected to confirm their cooperation in promoting shared values, including free trade, amid growing trends of protectionism.

The German chancellor is also expected to use the visit to further strengthen economic relations with Japan, and confirm bilateral cooperation in sectors such as artificial intelligence, where there has been heated international competition.

She plans to visit a major Japanese electronics firm to learn about its cutting-edge technology.

Germany has tended to place priority on China regarding its economic relations in Asia.

Merkel's visit is viewed as part of Germany's effort to rebalance its relations between Japan and China in the wake of growing concerns over technology leaks involving China.