Foreign Minister Taro Kono held talks with his counterparts from Central Asia on Saturday to discuss economic cooperation and regional security.

In the meeting with the foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Kono is expected to promote Japan's high-quality infrastructure exports, according to Japanese officials.

The ministers are also likely to discuss ways to promote Central Asia as a tourist destination, the officials said.

Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani also participated in the talks.

The meeting in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, comes as China increases its influence in the region through its "Belt and Road" development initiative.

Kono is scheduled to hold separate talks with the ministers through Sunday before returning home.