Saudi King’s Visit Stirs Business Hopes in Japan (News)
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Tokyo, March 13 (Jiji Press)—Saudi King Salman’s four-day visit to Japan from Sunday is stirring hopes for a special business boom in the host nation, with the royal visit seen accompanied by a total of 1,000-1,500 royal family members, government officials, business executives and others.

Some 1,000 rooms in luxury hotels have been booked for the king’s delegation, while hundreds of limousines have been reserved. The king himself is staying at Tokyo’s State Guest House.

The king’s group is two to three times the size of the delegation led by his son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, that visited Japan in September last year.

“Direct and secondary economic effects are expected,” Sakakibara Sadayuki, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, told reporters on Monday.

Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō has expressed interest in the Saudi king’s extravagant entourage. “The 1,000-strong group is just amazing,” Abe said during a meeting with ruling party lawmakers last week, according to informed sources.

Japan Vows to Help Saudi Arabia Exit from Oil-Reliant Economy

Tokyo, March 13 (Jiji Press)—Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō, at a meeting with visiting Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud on Monday, offered Japan’s public-private cooperation to help Saudi Arabia realize its exit from an oil-reliant economy.

Japan’s cooperation will mainly cover nine areas including infrastructure development and the strengthening of industrial competitiveness.

Taking the opportunity of a Saudi king’s first Japan trip in 46 years, Tokyo, for its part, aims to expand business opportunities for Japanese companies by offering to play a role in the Saudi economy’s structural reform.

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. They also agreed to cooperate for stabilizing Middle East situations.

“We hope to powerfully advance our country’s relations with Saudi Arabia, which is a cornerstone for stability in the Middle East,” Abe said in his opening remarks at the meeting.

Japan-Saudi Economic Cooperation Plans Announced

Tokyo, March 13 (Jiji Press)—The Japanese and Saudi Arabian governments announced Monday a cooperative initiative to promote the Persian Gulf state’s structural reform to reduce its dependence on oil exports.

By supporting Saudi Arabia’s change, Tokyo hopes to help more Japanese companies do business there and to procure crude oil stably.

The Japanese and Saudi governments are planning to set up footholds in Tokyo and Riyadh to push forward relevant projects, such as the creation of a special economic zone to give Japanese firms preferential tax and regulatory treatments.

Specifically, the two governments will launch preparatory researches for the envisaged economic zone and joint investment in the artificial intelligence and big data markets in the Middle Eastern country.

Japan will also help Saudi Arabia build supply chains for local manufacturers by having Japanese suppliers build new factories there, and offer Japan Post Co.’s assistance for establishing the infrastructure for Japanese consumers’ imports from the country through the Internet.

Emperor Akihito Has Lunch with Visiting Saudi King

Tokyo, March 14 (Jiji Press)—Japan’s Emperor Akihito had lunch with visiting Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at his residence at the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo on Tuesday.

Emperor Akihito greeted Salman at the entrance of the Imperial residence, and they shook hands.

The king told the Emperor through an interpreter that he is very glad to visit Japan, which he called his “second home.”

They had a meeting and lunch together at the Imperial Palace also in February 2014, when Salman was crown prince.

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

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (left) with Emperor Akihito (right) at the Imperial Palace on March 14, 2017. (© Jiji)

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