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Japan's Abe talks up bullet train tech with visiting Malaysia PM

TOKYO -- Japan's prime minister went to bat for the country's high speed train technology in a meeting with his Malaysian counterpart Thursday, as part of his bid to boost infrastructure exports.

Shinzo Abe told Prime Minister Najib Razak that Japan's rail know-how was second to none as the two men met ahead of a special summit between Tokyo and the fast-growing Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“For the high-speed rail that will link Malaysia and Singapore, I strongly requested (Malaysia) to choose Shinkansen technology,” Abe said in a joint press statement with Najib.

The meeting came on the eve of an annual gathering of heads of government from Japan and the 10 members of ASEAN, which Tokyo will host this weekend.

Alongside the plenary sessions, scheduled for Saturday, Abe will hold bilateral meetings with other leaders through Sunday.

Abe has visited all members of ASEAN since he came to power last December, as part of a drive to boost Japan's influence in the region at a time of increased wariness of China.

Japan and several members of the bloc are at odds with Beijing in sometimes-overlapping territorial disputes.

In his talks with Najib, Abe reiterated his criticism of China's announcement of an Air Defence Identification Zone over the East China Sea, including the islands over which Tokyo and Beijing are rowing, local media said.

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, shakes hands with his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak at the end of a press announcement after their talks at Abe's official residence in Tokyo on Thursday, Dec. 12. (AFP)

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