Japan, Myanmar sign investment pact to nurture business ties, improve protections

Japan and Myanmar have signed an investment treaty to nurture closer business ties as the once secluded Southeast Asian country opens its fast-growing economy to more foreign commerce.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Myanmar President Thein Sein concluded the agreement Sunday in summit talks following a gathering of leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Tokyo.

Japanese businesses have been eager to invest in Myanmar and have stepped up their activities there after Thein Sein's reformist government came to power in 2011 after nearly 50 years of military rule. Japan's trade ministry said the agreement is intended to provide greater protections and a stable legal environment for investors.

Attracting foreign investment and lending is crucial for aiding the expansion of Myanmar's resource-rich economy.