Japan PM Fumio Kishida with HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani
HE Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida said that the official talks session he held today with HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani were very successful, and culminated in the announcement of upgrading the level of bilateral relations between the two countries to the level of strategic partnership.
In a press conference held at the end of his visit to Doha, the Japanese Prime Minister affirmed his country's determination to expand cooperation with the State of Qatar to several areas, including diplomacy, security, infrastructure, investment, culture and academic exchange.
He added that the Japanese-Qatari relations witnessed great development recently, as cooperation went beyond the boundaries of traditional energy to many fields to include, for example, the uses of renewable energy such as the transition to solar energy and reliance on carbon-free energy, and the development of areas of cooperation in infrastructure.
He noted the effective role played by the State of Qatar to ensure the security and stability of the Middle East and Africa, stressing in this regard that Japan has developed a framework for consultation and multi-level dialogue between the two countries to include the strategic dialogue of the foreign ministers of the two countries and many other channels. He added that it is through these channels that the outcomes of his visit to Doha will be followed up, to move towards tangible projects for cooperation in several fields.
The Japanese Prime Minister described his visit to Qatar, which was part of a Gulf tour, as successful, especially since it was his first visit as prime minister, as his last visit to the Gulf region was in 2015 when he was the foreign minister.
He pointed out that, during the last G7 summit in Hiroshima, the seven countries stressed with their international partners the importance of commitment to establishing a free and open world order based on the rule of law, and this principle was also emphasized with the leaders of the concerned countries in the Gulf region during this visit.
He said that talks during his Gulf tour dealt with how to deal with challenges in the energy sector, which is at the core of Japanese-Middle Eastern relations, in terms of facing the challenges of unstable global energy supplies due to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, where the matter was discussed from an in-depth global perspective. He pointed out that he sensed a strong desire from the Gulf countries to transform into carbon-free energy exporters, as well as diversify their economies and industries. He also said that consolidating the powers of the Gulf and Japan, oil producers in the Middle-East will become a hub for producing clean energy and exporting Carbon-free energy. He explained that the countries of Asia and Africa are facing a crisis related to the growing need to rely on carbon-free energy and enable them to choose different paths to rely on carbon-free energy, which would contribute to global security and prosperity.
On the other hand, the Prime Minister of Japan said that his Gulf tour was also an opportunity to discuss trade and economic cooperation, as he, for the first time as Prime Minister, accompanied an economic delegation of more than 100 executives and business leaders in Japan to hold talks related to laying the foundations for future cooperation in many fields, strengthening government partnership as well as private sector partnerships.
The Prime Minister reviewed the most prominent outcomes of his visit to the Gulf. In the energy sector, it was agreed to cooperate to promote the transition to clean energy. Japan also expressed its commitment to the three countries included in the Gulf visit to support economic and industrial diversification in these countries in areas such as technology, communications, outer space, health care, education, agriculture, and tourism. There were seven memorandums of understandings signed related to bilateral cooperation.
He pointed out that his discussions during his Gulf tour also included a discussion about a free-trade agreement between Japan and GCC countries, where it was agreed with GCC Secretary-General Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi to resume negotiations in 2024, which will enhance the Japanese momentum to strongly support the Gulf countries in the transition to clean energy, expanding business opportunities for Japanese companies, and attracting domestic investment.
He noted that his talks on his Gulf tour also included enhancing security cooperation, as it was agreed to engage in more political and security dialogues frequently and deepen cooperation in international forums, as well as agreeing to organize regular meetings at the level of foreign ministers.
He explained that the Gulf tour also included a meeting with Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Hissein Brahim Taha, stressing that the organization, whose membership includes 57 countries, played an effective role in reducing violence and extremism and has a prominent influence in maintaining stability in the Middle East region. HE the Prime Minister stressed that Japan will continue to engage in dialogue and close relations with those regional organizations.
And he indicated that his talks also touched on strengthening relations in the field of culture, education, science and many other fields.
Discussing the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, the Prime Minister of Japan made it clear that this situation constitutes a major challenge to world order. He added that there remains some uncertainty in the oil and gas market, given the pressure on LNG supply and the lack of investment in oil and gas. He noted that his current visit involved frank and positive discussions on all these points, and praised the results achieved. He stressed the important to stress, in the context of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, the importance of protecting the rules-based international order and the rapid access to a just and lasting peace, noting that it was imperative for the stability of the global market.
Kishida added that Japan's presiding over the recent G7 Summit in Hiroshima, made great efforts to strengthen unity between the group and eight countries that were invited to the summit, He added that the summit confirms the continuation of constructive efforts on what has been achieved so far.
He stressed the importance of continuing honest talks with oil producers and consumers in international energy organizations regarding supply and demand. He highlighted that resolving issues comes through investment, adding that while it was important to avoid underinvesting in the field oil and gas and finding carbon-free alternatives, it was important to continue investing large sums in the form of financing to transform to clean energy and deploying modern technology, Carbon pricing, Hydrogen, Ammonia, synthetic fuels, and battery storage systems.