Macri with Shinzo Abe. Photo via Taringa!

Mauricio Macri, alongside his wife Juliana Awada, their daughter Antonia, and several cabinet members, spent a second day in Japan today, as part of the first official state visit to Japan in almost 20 years. A business brunch was scheduled this morning, during which Macri encouraged Japanese businessmen, including the CEOs of major car companies Toyota and Nissan, to invest in Argentina.

Later on he spoke at the opening of the Japan-Argentina Economic Form, met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and got together with members of the Japan-Argentina Parliamentary Friendship League. The two leaders signed a Memorandum of Cooperation, enabling commercial trade and identifying the “areas of mutual interest for potential investments” in agriculture, livestock farming, fishing, forestation and agroindustry. Afterwards, Abe and his wife will host a banquet in honor of the Argentine first family in the official residence.

Speaking from the Toyota Mega Web Center, Macri expressed his hope that other Japanese companies will follow the “example” set by Toyota, whose chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada announced that his company will increase production in their Zárate factory in Buenos Aires, by 30%. This will amount to a total annual production capacity of 132,000 units.

Uchiyamada said the company “feels a great commitment, and wants to contribute to the development of Argentina, who we consider an important ally.” As such, Toyota will directly hire 300 new employees, and indirectly create 1,500 new jobs, in order to increase their production from 97,000 to 132,000 units a year. This will enable them to increase exports by 50%, (from 60,000 to 90,000).

Hoping to aid investment, Macri praised Argentina’s excellent natural and human resources, its new era, of “clear rules” and “transparency” and stressed that it would be “difficult” for Japan “to find a country in the world with the potential for growth that Argentina has.” It just needs “more order”, “method and organization” and support from Japan to transform into a truly competitive and productive country.

Tomorrow’s activities, marking the end of his 9 day Asia tour, are rather lighter: a trip to the Meiji Shrine, includin a visit to the temple and a Tamagushi offering, followed by a meeting with the emperor Akihito and his wife Michiko in the Imperial Palace.