Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg agreed Thursday to advance economic cooperation between the two countries on the back of a free trade agreement signed earlier this year.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Ulan Bator, Saikhanbileg said Mongolia completed legal procedures the same day, paving the way for the FTA, signed in February, to take effect possibly this coming spring.

Abe welcomed the move, saying Japan "would like to cooperate for Mongolia's development." The Japanese government won parliamentary approval for the FTA during a regular Diet session that ended last month.