Japan's Abe talks up bullet train to Malaysia in meeting

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) shakes hands with his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak (L) at the end of a media announcement after their talks at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Dec 12, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) shakes hands with his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak (L) at the end of a media announcement after their talks at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Dec 12, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's prime minister went into bat for the country's high speed train technology in a meeting with his Malaysian counterpart on Thursday, as part of his bid to boost infrastructure exports.

Shinzo Abe told Prime Minister Najib Razak that Japan's rail know-how was second to none as the two men met ahead of a special summit between Tokyo and the fast-growing Asean.

"For the high-speed rail that will link Malaysia and Singapore, I strongly requested Malaysia to choose Shinkansen technology," Abe said in a joint press statement with Najib.

The meeting came on the eve of an annual gathering of heads of government from Japan and the 10 members of Asean, which Tokyo will host this weekend.

Alongside the plenary sessions, scheduled for Saturday, Abe will hold bilateral meetings with other leaders through Sunday.

Abe has visited all members of Asean since he came to power last December, as part of a drive to boost Japan's influence in the region at a time of increased wariness of China.

Japan and several members of the bloc are at odds with Beijing in sometimes-overlapping territorial disputes.

In his talks with Najib, Abe reiterated his criticism of China's announcement of an Air Defence Identification Zone over the East China Sea, including the islands over which Tokyo and Beijing are rowing, local media said.