Saudi Arabian King Salman bins Abdul-aziz al Saud along with thousand delegates accompanying him arrived for a trade visit in Japan. For the 4 day visit he brought two golden escalators to help him carry on and off his private jet, and also ordered dozens of limousines to travel in the country.
Looking to enhance the trade links to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy away from oil, the King has been touring several Asian countries since taking over the reigns following the death of his brother, King Abdullah in 2015.
Before this, a 9 day Indonesian trip saw the King arrived with 459 tonnes of luggage along with two Mercedes limousines. A special toilet was built in a mosque for the King during the time. Also a custom seat was constructed in the country’s House of Representatives for him.
Around 1,200 rooms were booked for the delegation for three nights in Tokyo’s most luxurious hotels following their arrival over the weekend. Post this Japan tour we will also see him visit China and the Maldives to expand the business links. Japan imports the largest quantity of oil from Saudi Arabia as due to the lacking of many fossil fuels in the country other than coal. As oil prices had dropped last year, trade fell between both these countries.
And King Salman is now hoping to extend into non-energy sectors like manufacturing when oil price dropped back home which led to a financial crisis.
The visit is the first ever by a Saudi King to Japan, although King Salman did come here in 2014 when he was a crown prince. Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary said that Tokyo was willing to provide Riyadh with this business growth support while referring to the Japanese collaboration of Vision 2030, which showed a roadmap for the development and economic objectives between the countries.
Meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, they both agreed to have a feasibility study to explore options for setting up a special economic zone within Saudi Arabia. This zone would offer tax incentives and would have normal customs rules that would encourage Japanese firms to start manufacturing plants, research and development centres in Saudi Arabia.
Also in other news, world’s top car company Toyota is beginning to look at the options of starting an auto assembly plant in Saudi Arabia. For providing private funds for technology investments, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and Japanese telecoms provider and energy company Softbank together have pooled up sources of $25 billion for the cause.
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