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Japan welcomes Mekong leaders in jostle for influence

Tokyo steps up engagement in the region as it battles with Beijing for regional sway

LINKING UP: From left: Cambodia's PM Hun Sen, Laos' PM Thongsing Thammavong, Myanmar's President Thein Sein, Thailand's PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and Vietnam's PM Nguen Tan Dung joining hands before an economic forum hosted by the Japan External Trade Organization in Tokyo on July 3.


JAPAN is rolling out the red carpet this weekend for the leaders of the "Mekong Five" as it pushes infrastructure exports and courts influence in a region where rival China has an increasing presence.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet his counterparts from Cambodia, Laos,