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Abe aims to diversify Japan's Saudi ties


The trip to Japan by the 81-year-old is the first visit by a Saudi king in 46 years.

The Japanese government aims to contribute to the political and economic stability of Saudi Arabia by supporting the Arab nation's efforts to free itself from dependence on oil. During 2015-16, the value of bilateral trade stood at $ 26.71 billion, a 32 per cent fall from $32.97 billion the previous year due to lower prices of petroleum.

Japan, meanwhile, sees resource-rich Saudi Arabia as an attractive market for its infrastructure exports. Saudi Arabia and Japan maintain strong economic relations. He pointed out that the visit means a lot for the Japanese, in general, and the Japanese Muslims, in particular, hailing the well-established cooperation between the two countries, according to Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Also on Monday, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and trade chief Hiroshige Seko separately paid courtesy visits to the king.


Kyodo News quoted a Saudi government source as saying they had reserved 1,000 to 1,200 rooms at high-end hotels in Tokyo and hired about 500 limousines. Saudi Arabia will look at relaxing visa requirements for Japanese nationals, too.

Last September, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abe met in Tokyo and agreed to launch the Joint Group For Saudi Japan Vision 2030, chaired by five ministers from the two countries.

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia and Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia have both stated that counter-terrorism and combating extremism was one of the key points touched in meetings with the Saudi delegation.

In the joint statement, the two countries also pledged to pursue synergy effects of Saudi Vision 2030 and Abe's growth strategies for Japan. The visit, expected to result in the signing of several agreements, will expand partnerships between the Saudi business sector and Japanese and Chinese counterparts, Tariq Al-Qahtani, the board chairman of the Saudi-Japanese Business Council, told local media.

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