(BBC News) - Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is set to visit Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan at the end of August, the foreign ministry has announced.
Mr Koizumi, who steps down at the end of September, will discuss security and energy issues.
He is due to meet Uzbek President Islam Karimov, spurned internationally since a bloody crackdown in May 2005, reports Trend.
Uzbek officials say 187 people died when troops shot a dangerous group of Islamic extremists in Andijan.
But witnesses say soldiers fired on anti-government demonstrators and put the death toll much higher.
Mr Koizumi will leave for Kazakhstan, where he will meet President Nursultan Nazarbayev, on 28 August and then go to on to Uzbekistan.
A foreign ministry spokesman said regional security issues and economic ties would be on the agenda.
Energy ties are also likely to be discussed, with resource-poor Japan looking to ensure a stable supply of oil and gas.
Japan may also be keen to build its influence in Central Asia to counteract China's increasing involvement there.
Beijing has been boosting ties with the region through the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation - a China and Russia-dominated Central Asian security grouping.
China is also a competitor for Central Asian energy resources. In December 2005, Kazakh oil began to flow into China through a new 1,000km-long (620-mile) oil pipeline.
Mr Koizumi may face criticism for meeting the Uzbek president.
European Union sanctions are still in place over Uzbekistan's refusal to allow an independent investigation into Andijan.
But a recent visit by US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher earlier this month - the first visit by a senior US official since September 2005 - may indicate Western re-engagement with the Uzbek government.
"Obviously the human rights issue will be touched on, as will democratisation," said a Japanese foreign ministry official, but he did not confirm whether the Andijan issue would be raised.