Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is embarking on a significant trip to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar later this month, aiming to deepen cooperation in the energy sector. With a focus on ensuring a stable energy supply for resource-poor Japan, Kishida plans to showcase Japan’s eco-friendly technologies, particularly hydrogen. This visit marks the first time a Japanese leader has traveled to the Middle East since January 2020. Accompanied by executives from numerous Japanese companies, Kishida intends to bolster Japan’s economic influence in the region, possibly in response to China’s growing presence.
During his four-day trip, Kishida is scheduled to hold crucial summits with key leaders, including Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. The discussions will revolve around strengthening bilateral ties, enhancing “resource diplomacy,” and supporting the Middle Eastern nations’ carbon neutrality efforts by leveraging Japan’s advanced technologies.
Given the upward trend in global energy prices since Russia’s incursion into Ukraine in February 2022, Kishida is likely to appeal to the leaders for stable exports of crude oil and natural gas to Japan, which heavily relies on imports for more than 90% of its energy requirements. Historically, Japan has maintained friendly relations with Middle Eastern countries, recognizing their significance as major energy suppliers.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been actively diversifying their economies and reducing their reliance on oil due to the potential future decline in crude oil prices as a result of worldwide decarbonization efforts. By engaging in dialogue with these nations, Kishida hopes to identify areas of mutual interest and cooperation, beyond traditional energy resources, to contribute to sustainable economic growth and development.
Last year, Kishida had to cancel his planned visit to the three countries due to contracting the novel coronavirus. Now, as he sets out on this important journey, the focus remains on fostering stronger partnerships in the energy sector and solidifying Japan’s position as a key player in the global transition toward cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.
Japan’s PM Prioritizes Energy Cooperation in the Middle East
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is embarking on a crucial trip to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, aiming to strengthen cooperation in the energy sector. With Japan heavily dependent on imports for its energy needs, Kishida seeks to ensure a stable energy supply from the oil-rich Middle Eastern nations. Additionally, he plans to showcase Japan’s eco-friendly technologies, such as hydrogen, to contribute to the host countries’ carbon neutrality efforts. This visit marks an opportunity for Japan to enhance its economic influence in the region, potentially in response to China’s growing presence.