Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki urged Japan to invest in the Middle Eastern country in a meeting with Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Akira Amari, a METI official said.

Some areas, such as the Kurds’ autonomous district, are safe once again, Maliki said, and he hopes Japanese companies will invest in industries such as car manufacturing, agriculture, information technology and petrochemicals, the METI official said.

Other Iraqi ministers who attended the meeting in Tokyo also asked Japan to provide funds for building electricity infrastructure, the official noted.

Amari expressed that Japanese companies are interested in investing in Iraq, and asked Maliki to provide detailed information on security and possible projects.

The officials didn’t discuss energy issues at length this time, as Amari has already held talks with Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani during his visit to Japan last autumn, the METI official added.

During Shahristani’s last visit in autumn, Japan and Iraq signed a joint statement aimed at increasing cooperation between the two countries. Japan also reaffirmed it would provide a Y2.079-billion loan to upgrade a refinery Iraq’s southern city of Basra. (Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)