Japan stands ready to help Malaysia deal with its huge government debts, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told his visiting Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad in Tokyo on Tuesday, as the two countries seek to foster closer economic and cultural ties.

Tokyo plans to help Malaysia issue yen-denominated "samurai" bonds worth ¥200 billion that would be guaranteed by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, a senior Japanese official said.

Such samurai bonds can be issued with relatively low-interest rates and thus can help the country tackle its fiscal problems, the official said. "It was confirmed that we would aim for the issuance (of samurai bonds) guaranteed by the JBIC," Abe told reporters during a joint news conference with Mahathir after their meeting.