Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba kicks off official visit to Middle East with a plea for Saudi Arabia for a stable supply of oil and a steady price which are crucial for Japan’s massive reconstruction efforts in the wake of the March 11 disaster.
Japan’s demand for crude oil is anticipated to continuously rise with its use of thermal power generation after the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Gemba met with his Saudi counterpart acting foreign minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz in Riyadh on January 7 who expressed assurance to Japan’s request. Gemba’s trip to the oil-rich nation is the very first visit in 11 years for a Japanese foreign minister.
Next to Saudi Arabia, Gemba will go to Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Turkey in the Middle East. With sixty percent of its oil and gas imports coming from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE, Japan intends to strengthen economic cooperation and technology exchanges on new energy resources with these countries.
Japan in particular discussed investment opportunity with Saudi Arabia as he signed pertinent documents on strategic dialogue and cooperation on energy between Japan and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The current unrest in Middle East nations will also be tackled during the Gemba’s Middle East visit.