Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida has stressed the importance of his visit to Qatar on Tuesday as it is his first visit to the country since taking office as Prime Minister.
The Japanese PM described the relations between the two countries as solid and having more potential for developing bilateral cooperation.
In an interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), he described Qatar as an important partner for Japan, saying the two countries have steadily developed their relationship not only in the energy sector but also in various other fields.
He added that his current visit to Qatar would be a great opportunity to discuss strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries with greater potential for expanding cooperation.
He said that for many years, the stable supply of LNG and oil from Qatar has supported Japan’s economic growth, allowing the two countries to steadily develop a mutually beneficial relationship.
Since the 1990s, Japanese companies have contributed to the full-scale construction of LNG plants in Qatar.
“In February 2021, a Japanese company was awarded a contract to develop and construct LNG plants in the North Field Expansion Project, which is seen as the cornerstone of Qatar’s prosperity. Furthermore, Japanese companies have contributed to the construction of key infrastructure in Qatar, such as the construction of the Doha Metro and Hamad International Airport. I am very pleased that Japanese high-tech companies continue to contribute to the further development of Qatar,” he pointed out.
The Japanese PM reiterated Japan’s appreciation for Qatar’s generous assistance during the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, which included an additional supply of 4 million tonnes of LNG and $100 million in support funds.
He also noted that the Qatari government has provided Japan with enormous assistance in a variety of situations, including the evacuation of Japanese nationals and local staffs from Afghanistan and Qatar Airways’ cooperation in the repatriation of Japanese citizens from Russia, stressing that these acts symbolize the profound friendship our two countries share.
Speaking about the goal announced by Japan in October 2020 to reach a carbon-neutral and decarbonized society by 2050, as the global movement toward the realization of a green society accelerates, Kishida stressed the importance of expanding the cooperation between Qatar and Japan in the field of clean energy, including energy conservation, hydrogen and ammonia, while utilizing LNG, which is an energy source with a relatively low environmental impact.
In this respect, he pointed out that a Japanese company is participating in the first large-scale solar power generating project in Qatar as part of the two countries’ cooperation in the field of clean energy.
He also stressed that it is extremely important for Qatar and Japan to work more closely to stabilize the global LNG market, which is experiencing tight supply and demand, pointing out that Japan is hosting the LNG Producer-Consumer Conference 2023 in Tokyo at the same time as his visit to Qatar to promote gas security and clean LNG utilization to the world as president of the G7.
“Despite their geographical distance, Japan and Qatar have been able to deepen their ties in a favorable and stable way over the years, owing to the fact that the Indo-Pacific region, to which both countries belong, has defended and protected a free and open international order based on the rule of law, despite facing numerous challenges. It was also confirmed at the G7 Hiroshima Summit hosted by Japan this May, that all countries should observe the principles of the United Nations Charter, such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added.
“Japan maintains and strengthens a free and open international order based on the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific and advocates the vision of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” to achieve peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world. To realize this vision, we are cooperating with all countries without excluding any, but we would especially like to work closely with Qatar, a country that also values the rule of law,” he said.
The Japanese PM pointed out that today, the relationship between Japan and Qatar extends beyond energy.
During His Highness the Amir of State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s visit to Japan in January 2019, the leaders of the two countries declared the establishment of the “Strategic Dialogue” between the foreign ministers and confirmed that the two sides further strengthen their ties.
He said,“Under this framework, we hold with the Qatari side discussion on the exchanges and cooperation in a wide range of fields, not limited to the energy field. We also exchange our views on Middle Eastern Affairs including Gulf affairs, peace in the Middle East, and East Asian affairs such as China and North Korea. I intend to closely work, on the international stage, with Qatar which plays a vital role in easing tensions and stabilizing the situation in the international community, including the situation in Afghanistan.”
“In addition, Japan attaches great importance to the “Qatar National Vision 2030” which promotes industrial diversification and human resource development, and we will continue to cooperate with Qatar towards its realization,” he added.
The Japanese PM considered that Qatar National Vision 2030 exemplifies HH the Amir’s strong leadership and clear vision, and its success is extremely important not only for Qatar, but also for the prosperity and stability of the Middle East region as a whole.
The Japanese PM stressed that he sees an even greater potential for cooperation between the two countries, saying in this regard: “Over the next 50 years, I would like to work with HH the Amir to turn these possibilities into a reality.”Qatar is an important partner for Japan: Kishida .