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Japan foresees enhanced relations with Kingdom

Ties between Saudi Arabia and Japan could reach better heights with the use of natural resources of the two countries for mutual cooperation, Japan’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Kazuyuki Hamada said on Monday.
Hamada was delivering a lecture on “Human Resource Development in Japan” in the midst of senior government officials at the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry in Riyadh.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, vice minister of foreign affairs, who was present at the lecture program, presented a memento to the visiting lecturer following his speech.
Japanese Ambassador in Riyadh Jiro Kodera and Deputy Foreign Minister for Protocol Affairs Alauddin Al-Askary were also present at the function. Dr. Abdulaziz A.Turkistani, Saudi ambassador to Japan, chaired the lecture program.
Addressing the guests, Hamada said that Saudia Arabia is rich in oil and petrochemical resources, while Japan has expertise and knowledge because of its skilled human resources in various fields of interests.
“Coupled with these two resources, the two countries could enter into new areas of cooperation of mutual interest,” he said.
He said Japan is a country mainly dependent on Saudi oil. Around 35 percent of its oil consumption comes from the Kingdom. “Our businesses cannot survive without Saudi oil,” he stressed.
He recalled the disaster caused by Great East Japan earthquake, which killed more than 20,000 people. “Japan experienced three tragedies of unprecedented scales: An earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear plant tragedy,” he noted.
As a result of the disaster, he said, Japan became world’s biggest recipient of aid and the Kingdom donated $ 20 million to the relief program.
“We deeply appreciate the support and encouragement of Arab countries,” the vice minister acknowledged. The Saudi government had sent helicopters to save Saudi students in Tohoku, he added.
“Potential fields of collaboration between Japan and Arab countries are wide and deep in areas such as new energy, environment and healthcare,” he said. “Japan-Arab Global Association was founded in Tokyo in 2009 to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between Japan and the Arab countries,” he added.
He explained that due to the presence of volcanoes, the country is prone to earthquakes. As a preventive measure, the vice minister said that the government is making floating vessels to accommodate people who are likely to be affected in times of such natural disasters.
He added that such a step would greatly minimize casualties.
He told Saudi youth that they should be open-minded and must interact with people to gain knowledge.
“Seeing is believing,” he stressed, adding that his country could share a lot in the field of education with Saudi youth. Currently, he said, there are some 500 Saudi students reading in various universities in Japan under the King Abdullah Scholarship program.
He said future cooperation could be extended to areas such as industrial development, Japanese investment in the Kingdom, exchange of experience in development of human resources, promoting small and medium sized industries, desalination of water, peaceful use of nuclear energy and development of solar power in the Kingdom.
Japanese firms are interested in participating in infrastructure developments in the Kingdom in areas such as power, water and other workable ventures between the two countries, he said.
Trade between the two countries is estimated at $ 56 billion. Saudi exports to Japan stood at $ 48 billion, while its imports from Japan remained at $ 8 billion.
There are more than 100 Japanese companies holding joint venture projects in the Kingdom and some $ 16 billion worth of investment in the Kingdom.
He said Japan’s Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi’s recent visit to the Kingdom had enhanced trade cooperation in various fields.
“The trade minister also discussed bilateral cooperation between the Kingdom and Japan in the fields of petroleum and energy and ways of strengthening them, including the expansion of Japanese investment in the Kingdom, especially in advanced industries,” the vice minister said.

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