Japan PM Shinzo Abe in Burma for economic talks

File photo: Shinzo Abe Mr Abe will be accompanied by several business officials

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe is in Burma on the first visit by a Japanese head of government since 1977.

A business delegation is accompaningy Mr Abe, who is keen to strengthen economic ties with Burma.

Japan is a key aid donor to Burma, and maintained trade relations with the country during its years of rule by military junta.

Mr Abe is expected to announce $980m (£648m) in development aid during his visit, reports say.

Mr Abe will also meet Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who he met in Japan last month, AFP news agency reported.

"We will seek to further enhance Japan-Myanmar relations, which have been kept sound for a long time through [Tokyo's] support to [the country's] reforms," Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday, using Burma's official name.

In 2012, Japan's previous government agreed to write off more than $3.7bn (£2.29bn) of debt owed by Burma, an agreement honoured by the existing government.

Mr Abe is thought to be keen to help Japanese companies secure infrastructure projects in Burma.

The country has undergone several reforms since a nominally civilian government was installed in 2011.

Hundreds of political prisoners have been released, and censorship rules have been relaxed.

The EU and US have lifted the majority of sanctions against Burma as a result.

However, Burma has experienced serious anti-Muslim violence in recent months.

At least 40 people were killed in violence in central Burma last month, while widespread unrest in 2012 between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine state left nearly 200 people dead, and tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims displaced.

More on This Story

Burma's Transition

More Asia stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage


  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world


  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop


  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Woman standingMysterious miracle

    It's extremely unusual and shouldn't give false hope, but what makes the body beat cancer on its own?

Programmes

  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach - why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.