Iranian President Arrives for Historic Visit to Japan
President Mohammed Khatami arrived in Tokyo Tuesday on the first official visit to Japan by an Iranian leader in 42 years.
"He arrived here by chartered plane," said a police official at Tokyo's Haneda airport.
Khatami was greeted at the airport by Foreign Minister Yohei Kono as he began his four-day visit, which will include meetings with Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and Emperor Akihito.
Mori will lend support to the Iranian leader's reform efforts when they hold talks on Tuesday, and he also wants to help improve relations between Iran and its arch-foe the United States, Japan's foreign ministry said.
Khatami's visit will also be marked by a basic agreement for Japan to acquire preferential rights to develop and operate an Iranian oil field, one of the largest in the Middle East, according to reports.
Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Hossein Kazempour-Ardebili confirmed that talks were being held "on the modalities of cooperation," Iranian state television reported.
Under the agreement Japan's government and a private consortium will develop the Azadegan oil field near the Iraqi border, which has confirmed oil reserves of more than 26 billion barrels, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.
It will be Japan's biggest oil development project.
The Azadegan oil field is expected to produce 300,000 to 400,000 barrels a day, more than double the daily import volume of 150,000 barrels by Japan's biggest oil producer Arabian Oil Co. Ltd., the newspaper said.
The agreement will be finalized between Japanese Trade Minister Takeo Hiranuma and Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, who is accompanying the president, it said – TOKYO (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)