‘New chapter’ opens in Saudi-Japan ties



JEDDAH: SIRAJ WAHAB & JASSIM ABUZAID

Published — Thursday 2 May 2013

Last update 8 May 2013 8:24 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says a new chapter is opening up in Japan-Saudi relations. The buyer-seller relationship would be expanded to include cooperation on regional and global political and security matters, he said after his historic meeting with Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, in Jeddah yesterday.
He said the escalating tragedy in Syria and the Iranian nuclear issue were cause for grave concern.
Delivering a keynote address at King Abdulaziz University, he said: “We cannot close our eyes to the tragedy that is unfolding in Syria or the Iranian nuclear issue.”
In a joint communiqué, Japan and Saudi Arabia expressed deep concern at the serious and escalating situation in Syria. They condemned the continuation of grave violations of human rights by the Syrian authorities and said the regime had lost its legitimacy.
On the Palestinian issue, he said Middle Eastern countries have an obligation to exercise their wisdom and powers of influence in the interest of bringing about a two-state solution.
“The entire region from the Middle East to North Africa is at a historic crossroads. That is precisely why efforts must be made to remove destabilizing factors now in play,” Abe said. “Beyond that crossroads, we must turn the region into a stage, an unshakable stage, where people earn hope and enduring growth and enjoy both stability and prosperity.”
Directly addressing the Saudi people, he said: “Let us roll up our sleeves and work together to achieve region-wide stability.”
Abe explained the reason for Japan’s radical shift from what his aides described as energy to synergy.
“Long gone are the days when bilateral relationships were defined by a one-way street with you selling oil on one end and us buying your oil on the other end,” he said.
“Making a leap beyond conventional business boundaries, Japan and the Middle East will make yet another leap beyond our business-centric connections by strengthening our ties in politics as well as in security.”
He announced massive financial assistance to Middle Eastern countries to promote peace in the region.
“My government has decided to provide the region with financial assistance amounting to $ 2.2 billion, aiming at helping you build lasting peace and stability in the region. It is in other words to substantiate our cooperation,” he said.
He praised Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s interfaith initiative.
“I would like to pay from the bottom of my heart my sincerest tribute to the Vienna-based King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Inter-religious and Intercultural Dialogue for its contributions to the history of humankind as well as to the history of the world. That is the organization that had its roots in a proposal by King Abdullah himself,” he said.
Both sides stressed the importance of the stability of the oil market for the global economy. The Japanese prime minister expressed appreciation for the balanced oil policy pursued by Saudi Arabia, which was providing a secure and reliable source of hydrocarbons for international markets in general, and to the Japanese market in particular.
Both nations underlined the importance of strengthening educational cooperation between universities and research institutions in their countries and welcomed the increase in the number of Saudi students pursuing undergraduate and graduate studies in Japan, as well as Japanese students wishing to study at Saudi universities.
The two sides stressed the importance of making the region free from all nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. Both sides urged Iran to fully implement the relevant UN Security Council and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolutions.
Ministerial aides, Yutaka Yokoi and Masaru Sato, told Arab News that one of the major reasons for the strategic shift in Japan’s policies toward Saudi Arabia and the Middle East was the tsunami that wreaked havoc two years ago.
“We appreciate the help from Saudi Arabia during that difficult period, and we are looking for increased energy security. We want to diversify this relationship,” said Sato, director of the international press division of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “We want to go beyond energy diplomacy. We want our relationship to be all encompassing. Saudi Arabia is a regional power, and we want to synchronize our policies in the region with that of Saudi Arabia.”
He said most of the talks were with Crown Prince Salman, and during one of their meetings, Abe received a call from King Abdullah. “The king warmly welcomed the prime minister and expressed happiness at the new thrust in Japan-Saudi relations,” he said.
Referring to the investment agreement signed between the two countries on Tuesday night, Yokoi said this would inspire confidence among Japanese businesspersons to come to Saudi Arabia. “This agreement gives them the guarantee that their investment is safe,” he said. “I am sure all the top Japanese automakers, including Toyota, will want to come here in a big way and actually set up manufacturing facilities.”

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The government has installed 5,000 high-definition cameras on all floors and courtyards of the Grand Mosque to ensure security and crowd control.These cameras are monitored 24 hours a day by officers at a control center in Mina. They have to...
GENEVA: Saudi Arabia has welcomed the report of the International Fact Finding Commission on Israeli aggression in Gaza and has lauded its effort to prepare the report despite noncooperation from Israel which did not allow the committee to do its wor...
JEDDAH: Several Yemenis have praised the government for correcting their status quickly, which created no extra burden while fasting.Many who gathered in front of the Passport Department in Asir said everything was in place for them, a local newspape...
RIYADH: The $11.6 billion King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) is already being admired for being a smart city but nobody can tell when it will be completed.“Being a smart city, everything is state-of-the-art. There is seamless Internet access and...
RIYADH: In a new move, the Ministry of Health will conduct drug tests on all drivers ferrying pilgrims between Makkah and Madinah during the Haj season.The decision was taken at a Haj preparatory meeting held on Sunday under the chairmanship of Imad...
JEDDAH: Motorbikes are among the most important means of transportation in Makkah during Ramadan because they are easy to use and cope easily with congestion in the central area next to the Grand Mosque. Despite the presence of public transportation,...
JEDDAH: A local man here runs a business started 150 years ago by his grandfather making sought-after Hijazi sweets for Eid and other festivals.Samer Jastaniah, 35, has three family shops making these products. “I am the grandson of the doyen of swee...
RIYADH: Saudi students have won six medals — a gold, a silver and four bronze — at the 19th Junior Balkan Mathematical Olympiad (JBMO 2015), securing the fifth place for the nation, as against 13th in its first participation in 2013.Rinad Abu-Jamal f...
Ambassador of Belgium Geert Criel:— Which particular aspect of Saudi Arabia you like the most? The friendliness of its people.— What is your favorite and oft-repeated Arabic word? Ahlan wa Sahlan.— Which book is by your bedside these days? World Orde...
AL-AHSA: Saudi farmers here need more support to buy fertilizers, medicines and equipment, and market their products.This is the view of Ahmed Al-Musalmi, who recently won the country’s ‘Ideal Farmer Award.’ He said high production costs and low mark...
JEDDAH: The Commission of the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) has launched 20 initiatives aimed at improving the professionalism of employees and limiting individual interpretations and actions while carrying out duties.Sheikh Abdul...
RIYADH: Medical studies and research for new methods in the treatment of chronic diseases suggests that fasting could help combat cancer and boost effectiveness of treatment.Scientists doing research on the positive aspects of fasting discovered that...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Education has announced that Saudi universities would accept 95 percent of high school graduates, despite a royal decree four years ago setting a ceiling of 70 percent.The royal decree had approved the “Afaq Project,” a strate...
JEDDAH: With the first stages of the municipal elections set to launch in Dhul Qadah, various organizations and institutions are responding to the intensifying “election fever” by trying to get in on the action and making a strong presence on the sce...
AL-AHSA: The third annual Youth Nights Festival kicked off at King Abdullah Environmental Park in Al-Ahsa recently. Organized by the General Presidency of Youth Welfare (GPYW), in collaboration with Al-Ahsa Municipality, the festival targets 70,000 y...

Stay Connected

Facebook