TOKYO: Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who arrives here today for a three-day working visit to attend discussions on the future of Asia and meet other regional leaders, will also try to woo Japanese researchers for Malaysias BioValley Project.
Malaysias ambassador to Japan Datuk Marzuki Mohd Noor said the main purpose of the Prime Ministers visit was to attend the ninth Nikkei International Conference on the Future of Asia Genesis of a New Asian Order, which would also see the participation of several other heads of government.
Following a suggestion last year by Dr Mahathir, a regular participant at the conference, Nikkei has changed the format of the conference to include a roundtable discussion after the delivery of speeches by the participants.
The roundtable, on Asean-Japan Exchange Year 2003, Genesis of a New Asian Order would also be attended by Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and former Japanese prime minister Ryutaro Hashimoto.
Marzuki said that Dr Mahathir, who would begin the discussions, would speak on regional security, giving an insight on Aseans view of the direction of Islamic fundamentalism in the region.
The second theme of the discussions is the creation of free trade zones and inter-regional economic co-operation.
This is quite important as a few Asean countries have taken up the proposal by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to have bilateral economic co-operation, Marzuki said at a briefing for Malaysian journalists here.
He said that Thailand and the Philippines had started negotiations on the matter and Malaysia last month had its first meeting to establish the Malaysia-Japan economic partnership agreement. The third theme of the discussions is Japans role in East Asia.
Dr Mahathir, who is accompanied by Datin Seri Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, is also scheduled to have bilateral talks with several leaders, including Koizumi and Arroyo, besides attending the Institute for International Policy Studies 15th anniversary symposium entitled The Asian Dimension under the New World Order Evolving Paradigms in Asia and Japan.
In between these discussions, the Prime Minister would take the time to meet scientists, researchers and top officials of Japanese pharmaceutical companies to encourage them to participate in the BioValley Project in Dengkil. This is a follow-up to the meeting Dr Mahathir had with them last year, Marzuki said.
Dr Mahathir would also visit the Riken Yokohama Institute a broad-based research centre where the works of leading scientists include genomic, gene sequencing and DNA analysing.
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