Aramco, Japanese banks sign agreements at Saudi-Japan summit

Companies including oil producer Saudi Aramco and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. inked agreements at a business forum hosted by Saudi Arabia and Japan on Tuesday in Tokyo aimed at deepening collaboration between the two countries.

More than 30 memorandums of understanding were signed at the summit, which went ahead even after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman postponed his trip to Japan due to concerns around the health of his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz. 

The agreements covered sectors ranging from manufacturing and health care to finance and tourism. They included deals between oil behemoth Aramco and Japanese refiner Eneos Holdings Inc., as well as Japan’s top banks, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and Mizuho, and Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power Co.

Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp. also plans a wind farm project in Saudi Arabia, the Japanese trade ministry said.

The summit comes as Saudi Arabia and Japan work to build cooperation in areas including green energy and technology and increase investment between the nations. 

Saudi officials including Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman attended the summit, officially called the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, while Prince Mohammed tended to official matters back in the kingdom.

MBS, as the kingdom’s de facto leader is widely known, spoke by video conference Tuesday with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the possibility of arranging another visit to Japan at an “early timing,” Japan’s foreign ministry said.

He also led a cabinet session the same day during which he reassured the public on the king’s health and prayed for a speedy recovery for the 88-year-old monarch. 

The king’s condition has been in question since Sunday after a statement from official Saudi media said he was undergoing medical checks for a high fever and joint pain. It was then reported that the ruler was taking antibiotics for lung inflammation. There has been no official update since. –BLOOMBERG