Japan and Saudi Arabia have agreed to forge a "multi-layered partnership" beyond oil, while urging Iran to take a constructive approach to resolve the crisis over its nuclear ambition.
Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe, who arrived in Riyadh on Saturday on the first leg of his Middle East tour, held talks with King Abdullah at his palace, a Japanese government official said.
Abe, fresh from his first official visit to the United States for a summit with President George W Bush on Friday, will also visit Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on his five-day tour.
"The two sides confirmed that they will aim at a multi-layered partnership between Japan and Saudi Arabia," the government official said.
"Prime Minister Abe told the king that he wants to broaden the relations which had been concentrated on oil," the official said. "And the king replied that he also wants to deepen the relations in such a way."
Earlier in the day, Abe unveiled the proposal when he made a speech at an economic forum attended by more than 100 Saudi businessmen and a 180-strong business delegation from Tokyo.
"I'm sure that it is a mutual benefit for Japan and Saudi Arabia to further expand relations surrounding oil, which is the base of our solid relationship," Abe told them.
"My purpose of a visit to the Middle East, however, is to form a multi-layered relationship" covering not only energy security but also political, business and cultural links.