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Abe, Malaysian leader discuss deeper relations

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met his Malaysian counterpart, Najib Razak, in Tokyo on Wednesday for the third meeting of its kind in a year as the two nations try to deepen economic and security cooperation.

Najib arrived in Japan earlier Wednesday for a two-day working visit, during which he was to attend the International Conference on the Future of Asia, organized by the daily Nikkei. He was set to deliver the keynote address at the conference on Thursday.

During a news conference following the 30-minute meeting with Abe, Najib urged more Japanese companies to invest in Malaysia, particularly in the energy sector.

Najib also said he and Abe reaffirmed “the importance of maintaining peace and stability in South China Sea,” adding they agreed that all international issues should be dealt with based on international law.

The Malaysian economy is growing at 5 percent a year, and “there will be many opportunities for Japanese companies” in construction of energy projects,” Najib said. “Japan continues to be the largest investor in Malaysia’s manufacturing sector.”

Abe said he spoke to Najib about the recent decision to ease Japan’s self-imposed restrictions on weapons exports, and his ongoing drive to change the government’s interpretation of the constitution to allow Japan to use the right to collective self-defense.

Abe said the moves were “part of efforts for a pro-active contribution to peace, based on principles of international cooperation.”