Saudi Arabia’s King Salman arrived in Tokyo Sunday as part of his seven-nation tour of Asia, the first visit to Japan by a Saudi Monarch in nearly five decades. King Salman himself, however, last visited Japan in 2014 as a crown prince.
The king was was greeted by Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito, Saudi Ambassador to Japan Ahmed Younis Al-Barrak and officials of the Saudi Embassy at Haneda airport after flying in from Indonesia where he had a brief stay in Bali island following his official visits to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Jakarta and Brunei Darussalam.
A statement released the Southeast Asian country’s foreign affairs ministry read: “The Japanese government sincerely welcomes the visit of King Salman and hopes that this visit will further strengthen the friendly relations between the two countries.”
Emperor Akihito will host a lunch banquet in honor of King Salman, while Prime Minister Shizno Abe will organize a dinner reception, according to the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo.
Saudi Arabia is the largest provider of crude oil exports for Japan, which relies on the Middle East for energy to power the world’s third largest economy.
Japan hopes to use the visit to reinforce and widen ties with Saudi Arabia and help the country’s efforts to diversify its economy, including exploring ways to increase Japanese investments in non-energy sectors such as manufacturing, according to officials. The Japanese government is planning to urge Saudi Arabia to include the Tokyo Stock Exchange among the bourses on which Saudi Aramco shares will be listed.
“As for MoUs (memorandum of understanding), some of them are still pending to be completed,” Ohmori said, regarding expected agreements to be signed between the two countries.
Details of the agreements are expected to be announced.