KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be making an official visit to Japan next month for the annual Nikkei Conference, in a move to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.
In a short statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said that Dr Mahathir received a phone call from Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at 11.45am today.
“Mr Abe congratulated Dr Mahathir on the formation of the new government and his appointment as the seventh prime minister of Malaysia.
“In the telephone conversation, both prime ministers talked about strengthening bilateral ties between Malaysia and Japan, and the impending visit by Dr Mahathir to Japan next month for the annual Nikkei Conference,” said the statement.
“Dr Mahathir expressed appreciation for Japan’s assistance in Malaysia’s development and hoped the two countries will continue to work together,” the statement added.
The original “Look East” policy was advocated by Dr Mahathir when he took office in 1981, to encourage Malaysian students in Japan who could bring back knowledge and acquire Japanese cultural values such as work ethics, discipline and punctuality.
Dr Mahathir has said in the past that the “Look East” policy should not only focus on trade relations between Malaysia and Japan, but also on emulating Japanese values such as diligence and shame of failure.