Tokyo: It’s been as long as 50 years back when a Saudi State head stepped on Japanese Soil but Saudi Arabia´s King Salman has finally reached. The 81-year-old king, who was greeted by Japan´s Crown Prince Naruhito at Haneda airport, will meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday and as he kicks off the Japanese leg of a broader tour of Asia.
Salman, who will visit 83-year-old Emperor Akihito on Tuesday, is travelling with a lavish entourage estimated at over 1,000 people.
Saudi Arabia is the largest provider of oil exports for Japan, which relies on Middle East for energy to power the world´s third largest economy.
Japan hopes to use the visit to widen its relations with Saudi Arabia and help the country´s efforts to diversify its economy, including exploring ways to increase Japanese investments in non-energy sectors such as manufacturing, according to officials.
King Salman´s arrival marks the first visit to Japan by a Saudi leader since the 1971 visit to Japan by then-King Faisal.
King Salman himself, however, last visited Japan in 2014 as a crown prince.The king is on a month-long tour of Asia, which has already taken him to Malaysia and Indonesia.After Japan, he is scheduled to visit China and the Maldives.