Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed Thursday to expand bilateral economic ties by increasing Japanese investment in the Caribbean country and canceling a major part of its debt to Japan.

At a meeting in Havana, Abe, the first Japanese prime minister to visit Cuba, also unveiled grants worth about ¥1.3 billion ($12.9 million) in medical aid to the country, Japanese officials said.

Abe referred to a recent bilateral agreement under which Japan would waive ¥120 billion of Cuba's ¥180 billion debt to Japan, the officials said.