Photo/IllutrationSaudi King Salman, center left, and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, center right, attend a meeting with Islamic figures at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on March 2. (AP Photo)

Even Tokyo is having to stretch itself to roll out the red carpet for the contingent accompanying Saudi King Salman, with luxury accommodations filling up and limousines being secured far and wide.

The king's entourage, which arrives in Japan on March 12, is so huge that not even government officials who are serving as hosts have an accurate count of how many are coming.

The general consensus is that the contingent will exceed 1,000, with about 10 princes, about 10 Cabinet ministers, other members of the royal family as well as business leaders joining.

Salman, 81, who will stay in Japan until March 15, plans to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on March 13.

This will mark the first visit of a Saudi king to Japan since King Faisal's arrival in May 1971.

The huge number of Saudi visitors means that 1,200 rooms at luxury hotels in Tokyo have been booked and about 400 limousines reserved.

"Maintenance costs for luxury models are high and there is little constant demand for such vehicles," said a source in the limousine industry. "Because we are unable to secure the needed number only in Tokyo, we are gathering the vehicles from Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures as well as the Tokai region."

Abe himself was amazed at the size of the entourage.

"If the contingent went to some department store, that would be really good news for that store," the prime minister was quoted as saying at a March 8 gathering of ruling party lawmakers.

According to government sources, visits by Saudi dignitaries are often on an enormous scale.

In September 2016, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31, visited Japan along with about 500 others who flew in on 13 planes.

About 200 motor vehicles were needed on that occasion to transport the entourage during their stay in Japan.

Before coming to Japan, the king is visiting Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority nation in the world.

In Indonesia, about 1,500 people are accompanying the king, and about 460 tons of baggage, including two luxury limousines, were flown in. In addition, 720 limousines are being hired at a total cost of 40 billion rupiah (about 340 million yen, or $3 million).

Although petroleum-exporting Saudi Arabia has the largest economy in the Middle East, its fiscal situation has worsened with the long slump in crude oil prices.

In spring 2016, the nation compiled an economic reform plan to diversify its economy by the year 2030. Under the plan, the nation is seeking growth in industries such as manufacturing and services to replace the petroleum sector.

In his meeting with Abe, Salman is expected to agree on a "Japan-Saudi Vision 2030" that would include several dozens of joint cooperation projects, such as desalination and solar power generation.

Japan is hoping to support Saudi Arabia's reform efforts so businesses could join in such projects.