Business leaders to meet with Wen

Kyodo News

Japanese business leaders, including Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) Chairman Fujio Mitarai and Toyota Motor Corp. Chairman Fujio Cho, will hold talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Thursday, an industry body official said Saturday.

The Japan-China Economic Association will send a delegation to China on Tuesday with a view to deepening commercial ties between the two countries, the official said.

One of the expected highlights of the meeting is what the Chinese premier will say about Japan’s next prime minister.

Following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s surprise resignation announcement earlier this month, the Liberal Democratic Party will hold an election Sunday to pick his successor, who as president of the party is assured of becoming the prime minister on Tuesday.

Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda and LDP Secretary General Taro Aso, who also served as foreign minister, are vying for the LDP presidency.

The winner is certain to be selected prime minister because the ruling bloc holds a majority in the Lower House, which has the final say in picking the prime minister.

The business leaders will also exchange opinions during the four-day trip on environmental and energy-saving issues with Chinese officials and attend a ceremony Thursday to mark the 35th anniversary of normalization of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Toyota’s Cho is chairman of the Japan-China Economic Association, founded in 1972.