The government said Wednesday it will extend ¥132.7 billion (about $1.2 billion) in loans to Bangladesh to help the South Asian nation improve its infrastructure.

"We will work together for the development of Bangladesh and beyond and achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific region," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a joint news conference after meeting with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Japan views Bangladesh as an important partner as Tokyo seeks to facilitate the flow of people and goods by building infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific region, where China is expanding its influence.