Japan-Saudi Arabia Relations
Meeting of Prime Minster Abe and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
On Thursday, September 1, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minster of Japan, held a meeting from 3:10pm for approximately for 45 minutes with H.R.H. Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who was making an official visit to Japan. The overview of the meeting is as follows. After the meeting, Prime Minister Abe and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed witnessed exchanges of memorandums of cooperation between authorities of the two countries in areas including cultural exchange, small- and medium-sized enterprises, measures to combat counterfeit products, energy and industrial cooperation, as well as an exchange of a memorandum and other documents between both countries’ news agencies (list of exchanged documents). Afterwards, Prime Minister Abe hosted a banquet for Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed.
1. Opening Remarks
Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan placed importance on Saudi Arabia, not only from the energy perspective, but also in terms of ensuring stability in the Middle East and significant business opportunities in Saudi Arabia. He recognized that Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed, who takes the lead in the new generation, seeks to significantly transform Saudi Arabia’s economy and society through the formulation of “Vision 2030” and other measures, and expressed Japan’s support for this direction and willingness to cooperate for the realization of the Vision. In addition, Prime Minister Abe expressed his hope to dramatically advance the Japan-Saudi relationship together with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed with the momentum generated on his visit to Japan. In response, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome and Japan’s support for Vision 2030, and stated his hope to cooperate with Japan in wide-ranging areas.
2. Cooperation for Vision 2030
Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan will cooperate with Saudi Arabia towards the realization of Vision 2030, which is led by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed, by mobilizing Japan’s expertise and wisdom to the full, as there are a number of areas for cooperation, such as investment mainly in the manufacturing sector, promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises, human resources development, and promotion of culture, entertainment and sports.
Prime Minster Abe and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed, aiming to have intensive discussions on the implementation of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and Japan’s growth strategy, agreed to launch a ministerial-level “Japan-Saudi Joint Group for Vision 2030” and to hold the first meeting of the Group in October 2016. Moreover, Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan will start considering coordination related to investment and financing with Saudi Arabia along with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), and the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan.
Prime Minster Abe and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed also agreed on cooperation in the energy field in implementing Vision 2030. Furthermore, they welcomed the decision to expand joint oil reserves with Saudi Aramco, which started following a proposal made by Prime Minister Abe on his visit to Saudi Arabia in 2007.
Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan is ready to cooperate in the field of culture, entertainment and sports on which Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed places importance, including through introducing Japanese anime and other pop culture, supporting Saudi Arabia’s first orchestra, promoting sports exchange and assisting the training of athletes towards the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In response, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed welcomed the proposals and stated that he hopes to further strengthen the Japan-Saudi economic partnership as Saudi Arabia enjoys a large economic presence in the Gulf region and the Arab and Islamic worlds and offers opportunities across wide ranging fields including manufacturing and services. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed also expressed Saudi Arabia’s willingness to invest in Japan. In addition, he also noted the importance of cooperation in agriculture.
3. Security Cooperation
Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan will contribute even further to global peace and stability, under the policy of Proactive Contribution to Peace based on the principle of international cooperation and with the Legislation for Peace and Security, an act to put in practice the aforementioned policy.
Prime Minister Abe stated that the memorandum on defense exchange which Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed was to sign the following day is a cornerstone for the reinforcement of defense cooperation and that he is pleased with the signing.
Prime Minister Abe and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed also discussed measures to fight against terrorism, and Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan is active in making contribution in non-military areas, such as humanitarian assistance for refugees.
In response, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed stated that he hopes to strengthen cooperation with Japan in every area including politics, economy and security, and that Saudi Arabia too takes the impact of terrorism very seriously. He further stated, while referring to the Islam military coalition to counter terrorism which had been formed under Saudi Arabia’s initiative, that it is necessary to take military, political and ideological approaches in the fight against terrorism.