Japan wants stronger ties with Brazil

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Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe holds a shovel as he attends a planting tree ceremony at the Japanese Pavilion in Ibirapuera park in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. The Japanese leader is on the last leg of his Latin American tour that included visits to Colombia, Chile and Mexico. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

SAO PAULO (AP) — Japan's prime minister said Saturday that his country wants to strengthen its economic and diplomatic ties with Brazil and begin a new "new chapter" in the relationship between the two nations.

Shinzo Abe made his remarks in a press conference hours before wrapping up a five-nation tour of Latin American and the Caribbean that also included Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia and Chile.

Abe and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Friday signed cooperation treaties in areas such as infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, energy, mining and education,

"We are about to begin a new chapter, a new future, in our relationship," Abe said.

Earlier, Abe visited the Japanese Pavilion in Sao Paulo's Ibirapuera Park, where he planted a tree.

He also visited the Museum of Japanese Immigration and met with representatives of Sao Paulo's large Japanese community in the city's oriental neighborhood of Liberdade.

Brazil is home to the world's largest ethnic Japanese population outside Japan: 1.5 million, most of whom live in the state of Sao Paulo.