Japan PM to visit New Zealand in July

New Zealand Defense Minister Jonathan Coleman said during his meeting with Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera on Sunday that he is looking forward to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's planned visit to New Zealand in July, a Japanese official said.

During the envisioned visit, Abe is expected to hold a summit with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, with the aim of strengthening cooperation in maritime security.

Abe plans to visit Australia next month and he is likely to fly to New Zealand on the trip.

Onodera and Coleman agreed during their meeting on the sidelines of a regional security forum in Singapore to enhance cooperation in the event of major natural disasters, the official said, adding Onodera also briefed Coleman about Japan's ongoing review of its self-imposed ban on exercising the right to collective self-defense by reinterpreting the war-renouncing Constitution.