Japan, UAE set to sign nuclear agreement as Abe visits

Japan and the United Arab Emirates are set to sign a nuclear agreement on Thursday as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is visiting the country, pushes his bid to sell Japanese nuclear technology overseas.

The two countries' representatives will ink the deal following a meeting between Abe and UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai.

Abe, since assuming his post last December, has promoted the exports of Japanese infrastructure, such as nuclear power plants, as a key pillar of the government's growth strategies aimed at revitalizing the Japanese economy.

Abe is on the third leg of his four-nation tour through Saturday after visiting Russia and Saudi Arabia. He will also visit Turkey before returning to Japan.

The two leaders are also likely to agree on launching talks on a bilateral investment treaty, with resource-poor Japan aiming to strengthen bilateral ties and secure stable supplies of oil from the country.

A large portion of Japanese companies' oil rights in the United Arab Emirates will expire in 2018.

Tokyo is eager to import energy resources at lower costs as demand for oil has been growing following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crisis that has kept most of the country's nuclear reactors offline due to safety concerns. The weakening of the yen has also boosted expenses for fuel imports.

On Wednesday, Abe agreed with Gen. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, to bolster bilateral ties in the energy and national security areas, a Japanese government official said.

They also confirmed they will start a security dialogue between the countries' diplomatic and defense authorities, the official said.

The Japanese premier requested the crown prince to ease import restrictions on Japanese food products that were imposed after the 2011 Fukushima crisis due to radiation concerns.

In response to Abe's invitation for him to visit Japan, the crown prince said he wants to meet Abe in Japan next time, according to the official.