Middle East

September 7, 2023
Group photo of attendees of the First Japan-GCC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
(Photo) The First Japan-GCC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Foreign Minister Hayashi speaking at the First Japan-GCC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

On September 7, commencing 1:30 p.m. local time (7:30 p.m. JST) for approximately 130 minutes, the First Japan-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Foreign Ministers' Meeting and the Ministerial Working Lunch were held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, attended the meeting. The overview is as follows.

  1. Opening Remarks
    1. H.E. Sayyid Badr bin Hamad Al Busaidi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman, which holds the GCC Presidency this year, made an opening remark and welcomed the attendance of Minister Hayashi to the Japan-GCC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on behalf of the GCC and stated the GCC is prepared to strengthen its relations with Japan in various areas and that he looks forward to exchanging views to this end.
    2. Following this, Minister Hayashi stated that the role of the GCC members in various fields in the international arena , including politics and economics, is becoming increasingly important, and that Japan attaches importance to cooperation with the GCC in addressing various challenges the world and the region are facing, and that Japan is committed to working with the GCC members and the international community with a strong determination to uphold the international order based on the rule of law. Minister Hayashi also stated that there is potential for both sides to greatly benefit by combining the strengths of both the GCC and Japan, and that he would like to strengthen the partnership.
  2. Japan-GCC Partnership
    1. The GCC Ministers welcomed the regular convening of the Japan-GCC Foreign Ministers' Meeting and the formulation of the "Japan-GCC Action Plan 2024-2028," and expressed their hopes for the GCC and Japan to promote cooperation in a wide range of fields using the Action Plan as a guide.
    2. Minister Hayashi expressed his expectation that the GCC countries will continue to play a leading role in the stabilization of the global crude oil market and stated that the GCC countries are accelerating their national efforts toward industrial diversification, decarbonization, and the realization of a smart society, and that Japan will fully support such socio-economic reforms.
    3. Minister Hayashi stated that on the occasion of Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to Saudi Arabia in July this year, both sides concurred on resuming negotiations for a Japan-GCC FTA by the end of 2024. He further stated that this is an important achievement and expressed his hope that constructive discussions will be made seizing this momentum.
    4. Minister Hayashi explained Japan's position on the recent discharge of ALPS-treated water, referring to the IAEA's assessment in its Comprehensive Report. The GCC Ministers stated that they are fully confident that Japan will comply with international standards.
  3. Regional and International Situation
    1. The Ministers had a candid exchange of views on the situation in the Middle East, Ukraine, and East Asia.
    2. The GCC Ministers explained their view on the current situation in the Middle East and their respective efforts by peaceful means such as dialogue, to resolve various issues and expressed their expectations for Japan to play a more active role in stabilizing the region and that they seek to strengthen cooperation with Japan.
    3. Minister Hayashi explained that Japan’s vision for a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)" aims to lead the world toward cooperation rather than division and confrontation and stressed that it is important for the international community to deliver a message that we must not allow the status quo to be changed by force. Further, he expressed his hope to work with the GCC members in maintaining and strengthening the free and open international order based on the rule of law.
  4. Closing

    Minister Hayashi reiterated his gratitude to the GCC Ministers and the GCC Secretary General for their warm hospitality and they concurred to further continue close cooperation on regional and international situations, as well as to progress cooperation between Japan and the GCC in various fields in line with the Action Plan.

Back to Middle East