Japan and Uruguay signed a pact Thursday aimed at promoting cooperation in simplifying customs procedures and cracking down on the infringement of intellectual property rights and the smuggling of drugs, guns and goods.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Uruguayan counterpart Francisco Bustillo inked the Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement in the South American country to facilitate bilateral trade, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and Motegi's visit was the first by a Japanese foreign minister in 35 years, it said.

Motegi also paid a courtesy call to Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou in Montevideo and agreed to promote free trade and develop bilateral economic and investment relationships.

Uruguay is the second stop, following Mexico, of Motegi's 11-day, eight-nation trip through Jan. 14. He will also travel to Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Senegal, Nigeria and Kenya.