Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will chair the Mekong-Japan summit slated for October 9 in Tokyo with the participation of the leaders of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam, according to Kyodo News.

The Japanese news agency reported that enhanced connectivity in the region tops the summit’s agenda, citing a statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at a press conference on October 4.

Kyodo News quoted Japanese officials as saying that Tokyo will promote quality infrastructure development in the Southeast Asian countries along the Mekong River to realize a "free and open" Indo-Pacific region based on a rules-based order and free trade.

"We will adopt new guidelines on Japan-Mekong cooperation and hope to strengthen relations with the region even further," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was quoted as saying by Kyodo.

Japanese officials said deepening cooperation and promoting the integration of the Mekong region has been a priority for Japan as the area located between India and China, and facing the East Sea, is strategically important when Beijing is increasing its clout in the region.

Following up on the current strategy adopted in 2015, the leaders are expected to adopt a new one aimed at improving connectivity in the region through infrastructure building.

The region is seen as a promising market for Japanese companies and economic growth in the five countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has made development needs more complex and diversified.

Tokyo's official development assistance has been intended to enhance connectivity by building roads and other infrastructure to facilitate flows of goods, services and people. Technical training and human resources development are also part of its assistance.-VNA