House Speaker John Boehner is inviting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to address a joint meeting of Congress next month. 

The Ohio Republican announced Thursday that Abe -- who will be the first Japanese leader to address Congress -- is scheduled to speak on April 29. 

He says the speech will give Americans a chance to hear from a close U.S. ally on a variety of issues, including working together to open new markets and foster more economic growth through free trade. 

In recent weeks, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have delivered addresses to joint meetings of Congress.