A Japanese government official said Sunday Tokyo wants to cooperate closely with Algeria to boost stability in the Sahel area, and praised its handling of a deadly militant desert raid.
Nobuo Kishi, Japan's senior vice foreign minister responsible for the Middle East, Europe and America, was speaking on his first visit to the North African nation.
"We made an assessment of the situation in the Sahel, and Japan wishes to cooperate closely with Algeria to maintain the peace and stability of this region," Kishi was quoted as saying by Algeria's APS national news agency.
He "congratulated Algeria" for its handling of the attack by Islamist militants on the In Amenas gas plant deep in the Sahara in January last year, it said.
Ten Japanese nationals from the company JGC engineering were among 38 hostages killed during the four-day raid and stand-off at the plant 1,300 kilometers southeast of Algiers.
Algerian special forces moved in to end to the crisis, storming the site and killing 29 attackers.
Kishi said: "Japan will continue to work and cooperate with Algeria".© (c) 2014 AFP