Japanese PM to start Gulf Tour on Saturday

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, shake hands during their meeting in Osaka, western Japan Sunday, June 30, 2019. Eugene Hoshiko/Pool via REUTERS

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will start a planned Gulf tour on Saturday. He will start with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman despite heightened tensions in the region.

“given the rising regional tensions, this trip is to exchange opinions with these three nations as one part of Japanese diplomacy aimed at diffusing the overall situation”.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

“We plan to dispatch Self-Defense Forces to this region. This is to strengthen information gathering and secure the safe passage of Japan-related ships,” Abe said.

Patrol planes will leave Japan on Jan. 11, while the destroyer will depart for the region at the beginning of Feb.

Past meetings between high-rank officials from the kingdom and Japan show keenness on building a genuine partnership.

The visits of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Japan, helped make a qualitative leap in historic ties between Riyadh and Tokyo, leading to the signing of several agreements.

Agreements include bolstering cultural exchange and exchanging information. In addition to reinforce the competitiveness of SMEs in global markets, the energy sector, industrial field, international and investment development.

Common Vision

Saudi Arabia and Japan share a common vision towards recent issues in the region. Further, Japan and Tokyo commit to settling peace in the Middle East. This is to be based on the Arab Peace Initiative and related UN resolutions.

Additionally, Japan is devoted to maintaining unique ties with countries of the Middle East. It also seeks to build an all-inclusive partnership with them. Namely Saudi Arabia, being a key partner for energy security in Japan.

Commercial partnership

The Saudi-Japanese commercial partnership boosts bilateral ties, as the kingdom is among the top ten commercial partners for Japan while Japan is the third biggest commercial partner to the kingdom.

Also, Saudi Arabia ranks first in supplying Japan with crude oil and its derivatives.