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International relations

Widodo woos Japan as infrastructure ambitions stall

China fails to deliver the results the Indonesian leader needs to show voters

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, right, shakes hands with Toshihiro Nikai, who visited Indonesia as a special envoy for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Jan. 19. (Photo courtesy of the Indonesian President's Office)

JAKARTA -- Amid major delays in his trademark infrastructure program, Indonesian President Joko Widodo is working to strengthen ties with Japan in hopes of building a legacy ahead of the 2019 presidential election.

Widodo called for the swift development of Indonesian infrastructure in a meeting Jan. 19 with Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The Indonesian leader named five projects Japanese players are involved in, such as the development of the Patimban port and the construction of a mass rapid transit system in Jakarta. He seemed satisfied when told that construction at Patimban would begin in May and that a portion of the port would open in March 2019.

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