Saudi Arabia on schedule to lift driving ban on women as planned on June 24

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A Saudi woman practices driving in Riyadh, on April 29, 2018, ahead of the lifting of a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia in the summer. In September 2017, a royal decree announced the end of a ban on women driving — the only one of its kind in the world — as of June 2018. (AFP/Yousef Doubisi)
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A Saudi woman practices driving in Riyadh, on April 29, 2018, ahead of the lifting of a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia in the summer. In September 2017, a royal decree announced the end of a ban on women driving -the only one of its kind in the world — as of June 2018. (AFP / Yousef Doubisi)
Updated 08 May 2018

Saudi Arabia on schedule to lift driving ban on women as planned on June 24

  • Women 18 years of age and older will be allowed to apply for a driver’s license
  • Driving schools for women have been set up across five cities in the kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi women will be allowed to start driving in the kingdom from June 24, the General Department of Traffic Director General Mohammed Al-Bassami said on Tuesday.
“All the requirements for women in the kingdom to start driving have been established,” Bassami was quoted as saying in a statement released by the government.
In September 2017, a royal decree announced the end of a decades-long ban on women driving — the only one of its kind in the world.
Women 18 years of age and older will be allowed to apply for a driver’s license, Bassami said.
Driving schools for women have been set up across five cities in the kingdom, and teachers will include Saudi women who obtained their licenses abroad.
Women with foreign driving licenses will be able to apply for a local one through a separate process, which will also assess their driving skills.
“It is no secret that many women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hold driving licenses from abroad,” the statement added.
Saudi women have previously petitioned the government for the lifting of the ban, and even taken to the wheel in protest.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, is seen as the force behind the lifting of the ban, part of a series of reforms being pushed by the powerful royal in the conservative kingdom.
His Vision 2030 reform plan for a post-oil era seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the workforce, up from about 22 percent now.
The decision to allow women to drive could give them the much-needed mobility to join the workforce.
Saudi women now no longer need male permission to start business.
But Saudi activists say social change will only be cosmetic without dismantling the kingdom’s rigid guardianship system, which requires women to seek permission from a male relative to study, travel and other activities.


Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

Updated 22 October 2019

Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

  • “We share common values,” said Majid Al-Qasabi

TOKYO: Saudi Arabia has a “special relationship” with Japan, which is “reliable strategic partner and friend” of the Kingdom, the Saudi Minister for Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qasabi said on Monday.

The minister was speaking at the launch in Tokyo of the Japanese-language online edition of Arab News, in the latest stage of its global expansion. The event came on the eve of Tuesday’s ceremonial enthronement of Emperor Naruhito in the Japanese capital. “This is a great opportunity, a moment in history,” Al-Qasabi said.

The news website, published in Japanese and English, will focus on enabling the exchange of information between Japan and the Arab world in business, current affairs, and arts and culture. “It will be good to have news in Japanese so many Japanese can read about the Arab world,” Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono said at the launch.

Common values

“We share common values, we have a high respect for the elders and we think that the family is very important … to me we are friends and I think we need to work together.

“In order to do that we need to know what people in the Middle East are actually thinking, what is happening on a daily basis, and we haven’t got the source for that — but now Arab News is in Japan.

“This is a very good means to exchange information between the Middle East and Japan, so I am very much looking forward to it.”