BEIJING • The delegation of more than 1,000 business representatives who accompanied Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on his trip to Beijing did not leave empty-handed.
More than 500 business deals worth US$2.6 billion (S$3.6 billion) were signed, Mr Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said yesterday.
The deals included cooperation in third-country infrastructure projects, Japan's way of endorsing and participating in China's Belt and Road Initiative without using the label.
There are 50 private-sector, third-country projects in the works. Among them is a smart city project in Thailand where local developer Amata Corporation will work with Chinese and Japanese partners, reported the Nikkei newspaper.
Besides corporate deals, more than a dozen agreements were inked to strengthen bilateral ties through cooperation between officials from China and Japan.
For example, the two countries will designate 2019 as a year for youth exchanges. Visa procedures will be eased to encourage more students to study in China or Japan. Mr Abe said Tokyo wants youth exchange to grow to 30,000 people in the next five years. Requirements for multi-entry visas will also be eased to encourage more tourism between the two countries.
The leaders also said they will use sports and the coming Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games to strengthen ties.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the two organising committees to promote the Olympic and Paralympic movements in East Asia and ensure the successful staging of the respective Games.
Another MOU was signed that launched a dialogue on promoting innovation and intellectual property protection, said Mr Abe's spokesman, Mr Takeshi Osuga.
"The two sides shared the view that for companies from both sides to conduct activities related to innovation, there is a need to nurture an institutional environment, including on intellectual property," he said.
Lim Yan Liang