• Kyodo


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Toyota Motor Corp.’s electric-vehicle parts factory in Hokkaido on Friday, as the government of the world’s second-biggest economy looks to promote eco-friendly EVs to curb air pollution.

Li was briefed by Toyota officials about the automaker’s e-Palette autonomous driving EV and a Mirai hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle at the factory in Tomakomai.

Accompanied by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Li was greeted at the plant by Toyota President Akio Toyoda.

After the visit, Toyoda told reporters, “Premier Li appears to have been interested in future technologies and showed strong interest with his actions and words.”

A Japanese government source said the Chinese representatives had requested the visit to the factory, at which Toyota produces major automobile parts such as continuously variable transmissions.

Xi Jinping, who was reappointed as China’s president for a second term in March, has promised to build a “Beautiful China” with blue skies and clean air by utilizing state-of-the-art eco-friendly technologies.

Li’s four-day trip to Japan through Friday is his first since becoming premier in 2013. The most recent previous official visit to Japan by a Chinese premier was the trip made by his predecessor Wen Jiabao in 2011.

Li attended a trilateral summit with Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and held bilateral talks with them on Wednesday, about two weeks after a landmark inter-Korean summit on April 27.

He also had an audience with Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo on Thursday and flew to Hokkaido later in the day.