Business

Uzbekistan aiming to lure Japanese investment with presidential visit

JIJI

The upcoming visit to Japan by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev will hopefully boost Japanese private-sector investment in the Central Asian country, Deputy Prime Minister Aziz Abdukhakimov has said.

Uzbekistan also wants to further advance cooperation with Japan through Mirziyoyev’s first visit to the country since taking office in 2016, Abdukhakimov told reporters in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent on Monday. Abdukhakimov has studied in Japan and is fluent in Japanese.

As Russia and China are aiming to boost their influence on Uzbekistan in the political and economic fields, it would be harder for Japan to boost its presence in the country without an increase in private-sector investment, he said.

By January, Uzbekistan will ease visa requirements for 86 nations, Abdukhakimov said. In February last year, Uzbekistan scrapped visas for Japanese nationals visiting the country for a stay of up to 30 days.

The number of foreign tourists to Uzbekistan is projected to reach 6.4 million this year, up sharply from 1.3 million in 2016, Abdukhakimov said, expressing his resolve to boost the figure to 10 million by 2023.

Mirziyoyev will visit Japan for four days from Dec. 17 and is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Emperor Naruhito in Tokyo, according to Abdukhakimov. The president also plans to visit Nagoya.