Expanding Ties: What's Behind Saudi King's Visit to Tokyo

Expanding Ties: What's Behind Saudi King's Visit to Tokyo

The visit of King Salman to Japan and China will add momentum to trade and investment relations with the Kingdom, according to an expert.

"Japan on the other hand is aiming to boost exports, investments and tourists in particular by exploring new growth markets beyond its domestic and neighboring countries", the statement continued.

The 81-year-old king arrived in Tokyo on Sunday for a four-day visit to Japan, as part of a monthlong tour of the Asia-Pacific region.

Abe and King Salman agreed to beef up their countries' security cooperation, including the resumption of subcabinet-level talks, while defining the bilateral relationship as a strategic partnership.

Ahead of Abe's meeting with the king, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga had glowing words for Saudi Arabia, calling it "the linchpin of the Middle East".

Within the so-called Enabler Showcase Zone, Saudi Arabia is expected to offer tax incentives and simplified customs procedures to encourage Japanese firms to build plants and research and development centers there.

The plan is aimed at helping Saudi Arabia diversify its heavily oil-dependent economy.

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"Japan-Saudi Vision 2030", the document for cooperation released by Abe and the king after the meeting, includes expanded cooperation with Saudi Arabia in a wide range of fields, such as infrastructure investment, Japanese companies advancing into Saudi Arabia and cultural exchanges.

Also on Tuesday, around 20 Japanese companies, including Toyota, exchanged memoranda of understanding with Saudi Arabian companies and government to strengthen ties.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman looks at the medals of the Order of the Chrysanthemum, Japan's highest order, awarded to him by Emperor Akihito in Tokyo on Tuesday.

King Salman also received at his residence the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan Hiroshige Sekō.

The two countries on Monday also signed economic cooperation agreements in industry, energy and finance and on setting up a possible special economic zone in Saudi Arabia.

In September previous year, Emperor Akihito held talks with the king's son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, at the Imperial residence.

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