Business / Corporate

MUFG becomes first Japanese bank to open branch in Saudi Arabia

JIJI

MUFG Bank on Wednesday became the first Japanese bank to open a branch in Saudi Arabia, aiming to provide a full array of services, including lending and settlements, mainly to Japanese companies.

The new branch in the Saudi capital of Riyadh comes amid international condemnation of Saudi Arabia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Japanese government is proceeding with joint projects with Saudi Arabia in a wide range of fields, including energy and entertainment, to support the Middle Eastern country’s shift away from an oil-dependent economy.

“More Japanese companies are expected to expand into the country,” a senior bank official said.

As criticism over the Khashoggi incident mounted, however, the core arm of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. canceled an opening ceremony for the branch.

MUFG Bank President Kanetsugu Mike was scheduled to attend the ceremony and also speak at an international investment conference there, but his visit was also axed.