Japanese officials from both the private and public sectors have expressed high hopes for success of the coming Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD.
This year's TICAD meeting will be held in the city of Yokohama, near Tokyo, in August.
About 300 people gathered in Tokyo on Saturday to accelerate preparation for the conference. They included those from Japanese businesses and non-profit organizations working to help develop African nations.
The vice mayor of Yokohama City Katsunori Watanabe said he hopes the conference will serve as an opportunity to boost exchanges with African nations.
The speakers at the gathering included a young entrepreneur who has developed cosmetics using local plants in Ghana and a female musician who performs using a traditional Kenyan instrument.
They expressed hope that further exchanges will be promoted between Japan and African countries.
The Ambassador for TICAD, foreign ministry official Masahiko Kiya served as master of ceremony for the Saturday event. He said he wants to make TICAD a success.
One participant said he is doing business in Africa and was interested in the conference.
TICAD is held once every three years. It is co-organized by Japan, the United Nations, UNDP, the World Bank and the African Union Commission. This year's TICAD is the seventh.