The crucial day in Narendra Modi’s Japan trip, which could see a flurry of dealmaking, got off to a quiet start with a visit to an elementary school next to his Tokyo hotel.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe during a private dinner in Kyoto. (PTI Photo)
Modi, who has come across as relaxed and cheerful on this trip, mingled with students and teachers at the 136-year-old Taimei Elementary, a minute’s car ride away from the Imperial Hotel where the Indian delegation is staying.
“We are trying to teach Japanese language in our schools, and we need teachers for that. I invite you all to come to India and teach,” Modi said.
The rest of the day will be much more frenetic, with the morning devoted to courtesy calls by senior ministers from the Abe cabinet – foreign minister Fumio Kishida, finance minister Taro Aso and economy minister Toshimitus Motegi.
Read: Why Japan is wooing Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Modi then delivers the keynote address at a lunch organised by Japanese industry bodies, before playing host to more ministers – land infrastructure and tourism minister Akihiro Ohta and defence minister Itsumori Onodera.
The central event of the day is the official welcome ceremony at the Akasaka Palace, to be followed by a tea ceremony, a meeting with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, talks between the two delegations and the signing of agreements.
Abe, who travelled to Kyoto to welcome Modi when he got there on Saturday, then hosts a banquet at the palace for his Indian counterpart.
The Japanese have laid on the hospitality for Modi and his delegation, eyeing lucrative infrastructure deals and a chance to cock a snook at their Chinese rivals.
Read: Modi-Abe warmth defines Varanasi-Kyoto bonding
The Indian side is keen on getting a civilian nuclear deal through which will enable Japanese companies to supply components to nuclear reactors. The Japanese have been pressing for additional guarantees that the Indians will not test again; India has been resisting this on the grounds that it has already agreed to a moratorium on testing.
Other items on the table include negotiations for the US-2 amphibious rescue and reconnaissance plane, investments in desalination plants and the Japanese bullet train.