Japanese PM in Kolkata on daylong visit

Updated on Aug 23, 2007 02:29 PM IST

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe accompanied by his wife Akie and a large business delegation for a day-long visit during which he is to inaugurate an India-Japan cultural centre.

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IANS | By, Kolkata

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived here on Thursday accompanied by his wife Akie and a large business delegation for a day-long visit during which he is to inaugurate an India-Japan cultural centre as well as discuss the West Bengal government's request for funds for a metro project.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and senior government officials welcomed Abe, who flew in from New Delhi, at the airport.

He is to inaugurate the Rabindra-Okakura Bhavan, an India-Japanese cultural centre, in Salt Lake, on the eastern fringes of the city.

He will then meet the chief minister over lunch at a hotel and discuss business opportunities.

Among the key issues to be discussed will be the state government's request for Japanese funds to build the Rs 43.10 billion-East-West Metro project, which is in the final stages of clearance.

Bhattacharya is likely to seek Abe's help in getting Japanese companies to participate in the planned chemical hub in the state. One of them, Mitsubishi Chemical Corp PTA, has invested over Rs 20 billion in Haldia.

Japan has invested heavily in the state in power and other key areas.

Abe will also meet Prasanta Pal, 81, son of Radhabinod Pal, the lone Indian judge who gave a dissenting judgement at the Tokyo Tribunals after World War II, proclaiming the Japanese not guilty.

He is to visit Rabindra Bharati University's Jorasanko campus where he would release a 250-page book on Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore's speeches titled "Talks In Japan".

He is also to visit the Netaji Research Institute at Bhowanipore in south Kolkata in the evening before leaving for Japan.

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