TOKYO (AP) — Japan and Turkey agreed Tuesday to begin talks on an economic partnership agreement, part of a drive to build closer ties as they also step up cooperation on nuclear technology.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed during talks in Tokyo to launch negotiations on the partnership pact.
The two sides also signed an agreement to set up a science and technology university in Istanbul which is expected to facilitate technology transfers and help Turkey build expertise in nuclear energy. Japan pledged support for the project in May.
Abe and Erdogan also agreed to push for faster approvals for construction of a $22 billion nuclear plant involving Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Areva of France.
Since taking office just over a year ago, Abe has sought to raise Japan's global profile, build economic ties and drum up business for major Japanese corporations. He jokes that he is the country's top salesman.
Turkey is modernizing its infrastructure and energy sector and thus is a key market for major Japanese industrial groups such as Mitsubishi and Sumitomo. Japanese exports of vehicles, electronics and energy equipment gave it a trade surplus of about $3 billion with Turkey in 2012.