Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
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Shinzo Abe starts Latin America tour

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has kicked off a five-nation tour of Latin America by signing a series of oil and gas deals with Mexico.

Mr Abe's visit comes hot on the heels of a trip to the region by China's Premier Xi Jinping - who also signed dozens of trade and investment contracts.

Both China and Japan are interested in Latin America's rapidly growing economies and vast natural resources - but is Japan playing catch up?

Martin Schulz from the Fujitsu Research Institute in Tokyo explains.

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