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Japan calls off Tokyo business forum after Saudis cancel trip

Reuters/Ahmed Yosri
Khalid Al-Falih said the limited income by the regional HQ special purpose vehicle will most likely be granted tax relief

A business forum of Japanese and Saudi government and business leaders set to take place in Tokyo next Monday has been called off after the Saudi delegation cancelled its trip, event organiser Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) said.

Saudi minister of investment Khalid Al-Falih was among the delegation that had been expected to attend the forum, a Jetro official said on Friday, without elaborating.

A separate Saudi-Japan reception hosted by Arab News planned for Sunday was also cancelled, the organisation said.

“Nothing has been decided regarding a visit to Japan from Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and prime minister Mohammed (bin Salman),” Japan chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.

“Japan’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is crucial given they are a significant strategic partner. It is important we hold high-level visits between Japan and Saudi Arabia in the near future,” Matsuno said.

Prince Mohammed held talks with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Thursday, pledging stronger ties in energy, defence and construction. Saudi Arabia signed investment agreements worth $30 billion with South Korean companies during the visit.

Prince Mohammed has since arrived in Thailand for a state visit, according to state media.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit opened in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday.