TOKYO, May 23 — Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob arrived here Monday night to kick-start his maiden official working visit to Japan, with several high-profile engagements lined up for the six-day trip.

The visit to the Land of the Rising Sun is the first for Ismail Sabri, following his appointment as Malaysia’s prime minister on Aug 21 last year, after a two-year travel hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. 

The aircraft carrying Ismail Sabri landed at the Haneda International Airport at 11.10 pm (10.10 pm Malaysian time).

Ismail Sabri is scheduled to hold a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, their first face-to-face meeting since they assumed office last year. 

Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah, Malaysian Embassy chargé d’affaires ad interim Nor’ Azam Mohd Idrus, Japan’s Foreign Ministry Director-General Southeast Asian Affairs Kano Takehiro and Ambassador of Japan to Malaysia Takahashi Katsuhiko were among those who welcomed Ismail Sabri at the airport. 

The physical meeting will provide an opportunity for Malaysia and Japan to discuss initiatives to further strengthen the long-standing relations and multifaceted collaboration between both countries and also for the two leaders to exchange views on the international order and regional stability.

According to a statement from Wisma Putra, the Look East Policy’s 40th anniversary commemoration and post COVID-19 cooperation will be high on the agenda during Ismail Sabri and Kishida’s meeting.

In Tokyo, Ismail Sabri will also attend the 27th International Conference on The Future of Asia, an annual gathering of political and economic leaders and captains of industry from the Asia Pacific region, at the invitation of Nikkei Inc, and deliver a keynote address themed “Redefining Asia’s role in a divided world”.

“The visit reflects the importance of Malaysia-Japan relations as both countries commemorate the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 40th Anniversary of the Look East Policy (LEP) this year,” said Wisma Putra.

In 2021, Japan was Malaysia’s fourth-largest trading partner with trade valued at about RM149 billion. As of 2021, Japan is Malaysia’s third-largest foreign investor in the manufacturing sector for implemented projects valued at about RM90.9 billion.

Wisma Putra said Malaysia and Japan would ink memoranda of cooperation in three areas, involving the aircraft industry, skilled workers as well as youth and sports, during the visit.

Ismail Sabri will also meet top corporate leaders and businessmen from several leading companies in Japan to lure more foreign investment.

Besides Saifuddin, Ismail Sabri will be accompanied by several other Cabinet ministers during the visit.

They include Senior Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali; Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan; Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu and also the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to East Asia Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem.


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