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October 21, 2020, 01.24 AM

JAKARTA, – Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo received new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java. Suga arrived on October 20 for his first state visit to Indonesia.

President Jokowi and First Lady Iriana received Suga and his wife Mariko at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java. Covid-19 dominated the occasion, as the two couples sported face masks and refrained from shaking hands.

The pandemic also dominated talks between the two leaders. Suga pledged to give Indonesia a Rp. 6.95 trillion [$473,885,055] fiscal loan to help Indonesia overcome the coronavirus’ effects on the economy.

Also read: Jokowi Works from Bogor Palace While Anti-Jobs Law Protest Rages in Jakarta

Jokowi and Suga also agreed to open a travel corridor for business travelers, a development which marked a major change from Tokyo’s stringent control of its borders since the Covid-19 pandemic began last March.

Jokowi also highlighted the ongoing challenges of bilateral trade with Japan. “I called Prime Minister Suga’s attention to constraints for imported Indonesian products,” he said in a joint press statement with Suga on the Presidential Secretariat’s YouTube channel.

“The policy particularly affected agricultural, forestry and marine commodities.

“On the other hand, I encouraged Japan to participate in the Sovereign Wealth Fund for its investment in Indonesia,” he said. “I am glad to note increased investment by Japanese investors like Denso, Sagami, Panasonic, Mitsubishi Chemicals and Toyota.”

Suga maintained that Japan is ready to continue to work closely with Indonesia, particularly in the field of infrastructure.

“The infrastructural projects included the next stage of the MRT’s development, the semi-fast train route between Jakarta to Surabaya, East Java, and the development of ports and [Indonesia’s] outer islands.”

Also read: Indonesian President Jokowi Sends Get-Well Wish to Japanese PM Abe

Hundreds of university students from the Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB) and other universities in Bogor held a protest near the Presidential Palace before Suga’s arrival. 

“We wish to have a dialogue with the President to remind him that he has yet to improve our economic wellbeing since he took office [in 2014],” said one student who declined to be named. “We also wanted to highlight the government’s Jobs Creation Omnibus Law.”

Suga succeeded Shinzo Abe as Japan’s Prime Minister last September, after the Liberal Democratic Party scion was forced to resign because of a chronic illness.

(Writers: Ihsanuddin, Ramdhan Triyadi Bempah, Bogor Contributor | Editors: Diamanty Meiliana, Egidius Patnistik)


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