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Japan PM leaves for Latin America, Caribbean

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday (July 25) left on a five-nation tour of Latin America and the Caribbean that will reportedly see a major Japanese bank extend a $500 million oil exploration loan to Brazil.

TOKYO: Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday (July 25) left on a five-nation tour of Latin America and the Caribbean that will reportedly see a major Japanese bank extend a $500 million oil exploration loan to Brazil.

The visit comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up a nine-day Latin American tour, as the Asian powers eye the region's fast-growing economies and vast natural resources. On Friday morning, Abe left Tokyo on his way to Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Chile and Brazil. He will return to Japan on August 4.

Japan's Sankei newspaper reported Friday that Mizuho, one of the country's biggest banks, is to sign a deal for about $500 million worth of loans to Brazil's state-run oil firm Petrobras to help fund oil exploration off the country's coast. Earlier this week, the Mainichi newspaper said Abe was to discuss with his Brazilian counterpart a proposal to boost the number of permanent seats on the UN Security Council to 11 from the current five.

Japan and Brazil, along with India and Germany, have long campaigned for permanent seats, which are currently held by Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. Abe's trip to Mexico and Chile will also see him discuss details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a vast free trade deal led by the United States. 

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