TOKYO: Japan’s interest to participate in the high speed rail (HSR) project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and the second phase of the Look East Policy is expected to be high on the agenda when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak begins his three-day official visit to Japan Sunday.
Malaysian Ambassador to Japan, Datuk Ahmad Izlan Idris said Najib will gain first hand experience of the Shinkansen high speed train when he takes a 96-minute jouney to Sendai which is located 325km from here on Tuesday.
“I think this (Shinkansen) will be brought up by the Japanese Prime Minister during the bilateral talk on Monday. And they have planned a briefing for the Prime Minister as well,” he told Malaysian media covering the visit here today.
Prior to embarking on the trip, Najib will be given a briefing by officials of the Japan Railway on Shinkansen and development around Tokyo station, as well a tour of the train cockpit.
Early this month, Najib and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong reaffirmed that both countries were fully committed to the success of the high speed rail (HSR) project linking the republic and Kuala Lumpur, that is expected to reduce the travel time to just 90 minutes compared to more than three hours by road now.
The Shinkansen line spans 2,400 kilometres and runs across Japan.
Besides Japan, other countries like China, South Korea, Spain, France and Germany are reportedly keen to participate in the project.
Ahmad Izlan said that this would be Najib’s second official visit to the country where he will be accompanied by Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and a delegation that includes Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Idris Jala.
According to him, among the agenda that are top on Malaysia’s side are the second phase of the Look East Policy, as well as looking for potential investment in biotech and green technology.
“The second phase of LEP started three years ago and both sides are working on a guideline now. Since its implementation more than 30 years ago, more than 15,000 people have benefited from it and contributed to nation building,” he said.
At the moment, there are about 5,500 Malaysians residing in Japan, including 2,250 students.
During his visit, Najib, who is expected to arrive at 8am Sunday in Tokyo, would attend a cocktail reception with about 250 Malaysian students and community on Sunday.
Ahmad Izlan said the official visit, at the invitation of Abe, was supposed to be held last December but was postponed due to the general election in Japan and the massive flood in Malaysia’s east coast states.
During the visit here, Najib will have a tight schedule, with the highlight being an audience with Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace on Monday.
In the afternoon, Najib will attend a round table meeting with 34 captains of industries, before holding a bilateral meeting with his counterpart Shinzo Abe.
Ahmad Izlan said both leaders are expected to discuss various issues and mutual cooperation to further strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries which established diplomatic ties in 1957.
“Besides trade and economy issues, both leaders are expected to touch on the South China Sea, as well as Malaysia’s current chairmanship of ASEAN and how Japan can assist in achieving the Asean Economic Community (AEC).
On Tuesday, Najib will deliver a keynote address at the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Roundtable before departing to Sendai to end his visit with a dialogue session with students at the Tohoku university.
During the visit, Rosmah will also have a separate programme where she is expected to visit the Institute for Radiological Sciences in Chiba, and the Hiyoriyama Memorial Monument.– BERNAMA