MONTEVIDEO (Kyodo) -- Japan and Uruguay agreed Sunday to allow each other's beef imports as a way of expanding bilateral trade during the first visit by a Japanese leader to the Latin American country.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he was delighted at the trade deal at a joint press conference with Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez following their talks in Montevideo.
Japan had been negotiating beef exports to Uruguay since March 2016, while imports of beef from the South American country had been suspended by Tokyo since 2000 due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.
Abe also said at the news conference that Uruguay is "an important partner of Japan which shares universal values such as democracy and the rule of law."
In the summit talks, Abe and Vazquez agreed to promote people-to-people exchanges in such sectors as sports and culture in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in 2021, Japanese officials said.
The two leaders also affirmed the need to fully implement U.N. sanctions against North Korea to denuclearize the reclusive country, the officials said.
Moving to Paraguay later in the day, Abe agreed with the country's president, Mario Abdo Benitez, to seek the early conclusion of a bilateral investment pact aimed at improving the business environment.
During Abe's Paraguay visit, which was also the first by a Japanese leader, Tokyo also pledged 500 million yen ($4.4 million) in grant aid to Asuncion, enabling Japanese medical equipment to be provided to hospitals in Paraguay, according to the officials.
Abe visited the two countries as part of his South American tour that involved attending the Group of 20 summit in Argentina.