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Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdul-aziz al Saud conducted a lavish four-day trade visit to Japan.
The king first visited the country in 2014 when he was just a prince. The recent visit marks the second time that a Saudi Arabian king came to Japan following King Faisal’s visit in 1971.
Since Saudi Arabia is Japan’s largest oil supplier, the two countries aim to improve their economic ties. However, King Salman intends to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil after the country has suffered from a financial crisis due to a drop in oil prices. He plans to go into other industries such as manufacturing.
Last year, both countries set up a $25 billion private fund for technology-related projects. Among the proposals is the development of a special economic zone within Saudi Arabia. The zone would allow Riyadh to offer tax incentives and simplified customs to Japanese firms. As a result, these firms would be encouraged to build factories and research and development centers in certain areas of Saudi Arabia. Another proposal entails establishing a manufacturing plant for Japanese automobile brand Toyota in Saudi Arabia.
Although the king traveled for business, he still received royal treatment. Around 10 aircraft were hired to transport the king and his entourage, which was composed of ministers and members of the royal family. The delegation reserved over 1,000 rooms in luxurious hotels in Tokyo to accommodate the royal entourage. In addition, several limousines were used in driving the king around the city, and two golden escalators assisted him in entering and alighting from his aircraft.