Japan Pledges Closer Saudi Ties as It Courts Aramco Listing

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Saudi King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud, the first monarch from the Middle East kingdom to visit Japan in 46 years, met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a summit yesterday. 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.

Meanwhile, Secretary of the Japanese Muslims Association Sheikh Amin Tokomats said the visit of King Salman to Japan means a lot for the Japanese, in general, and the Japanese Muslims, in particular.

The Nikkei business daily also reported that Toyota Motor is looking at building a auto assembly plant in the Middle East country.

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.

"We would like to more aggressively develop relations with Saudi Arabia, the cornerstone of stability in the Middle East", Abe stressed during the meeting. During the meeting, King Salman repeated his message that he delivered to President Jokowi on the importance of intensifying cooperation both with the government and private sectors.

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.

Today, the King will meet Japanese business leaders and attend an economic forum. "My grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, made efforts to deepen the ties between Japan and Saudi Arabia", said Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in a statement.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman held wide-ranging talks with Japan's Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace here on Tuesday.

Last month, the Saudi monarch went to Indonesia on his first trip outside the Middle East and North Africa since he visited the U.S. in 2015.

During their 35-minute meeting, the two leaders agreed on a nine-point blueprint titled Saudi-Japan Vision 2030.

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