Abe eyes enhanced economic ties with Latin America in upcoming trip

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to strengthen Japan's economic ties with five Latin American nations, including Mexico and Brazil, during his visit starting Friday.

Abe will also seek support from the Latin American countries for Japan's bid for a nonpermanent seat on the U.N. Security Council in next year's election, according to government officials.

He will return home on Aug. 4 after visiting Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Chile and Brazil.

In Mexico and Chile, which are engaged in talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, Abe plans to exchange views with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet toward an early conclusion of the TPP accord.

In his meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Abe is expected to propose an acceleration of the ongoing bilateral free trade talks.

In Brazil, Abe and President Dilma Rousseff are expected to confirm cooperation on the reform of the U.N. Security Council, which has five permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

Both Japan and Brazil aspire to become permanent members on an expanded council as a result of reform.