Saudi king arrives in Japan to broaden relations

March 13, 2017

Saudi Arabian King Salman upon his arrival at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on a four-day tour, the first visit by a Saudi King to Japan in 46 years (AFP)

King Salman of Saudi Arabia arrived in Tokyo on Sunday, making the first visit to Japan by a monarch from the oil-rich nation in nearly five decades. 

The 81 year old king, who was greeted by Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito at Haneda airport, will meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday and as he kicks off the Japanese leg of a broader tour of Asia. Salman, who will visit 83 year old Emperor Akihito on Tuesday, is travelling with a lavish entourage estimated at over 1,000 people.

Some 1,200 rooms at Tokyo’s luxury hotels have been booked by the delegation for the threenight stay through Wednesday, according to local media, which has also reported that hundreds of limousines have been brought into the capital to accommodate the visitors.

Saudi Arabia is the largest provider of oil exports for Japan. Japan hopes to use the visit to widen its relations with Saudi Arabia and help the country’s efforts to diversify its economy.
The king is on a month-long tour of Asia, which has already taken him to Malaysia and Indonesia. After Japan, he is scheduled to visit China and the Maldives.

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