Japan-Saudi Arabia Relations
Japan-Saudi Arabia Summit Meeting
On March 13, commencing at 6:30 p.m. for approximately 35 minutes, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, held a summit meeting with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who is visiting Japan. After the meeting, Prime Minister Abe and King Salman witnessed the signings of memorandums of cooperation between relevant authorities of the two countries in the areas of the Japan-Saudi Vision 2030, the fourth industrial revolution, cultural exchanges and facilitating the issuance of visas. Following that, Prime Minister Abe hosted a dinner for the King. (List of signed documents (PDF)).
At the meeting, the two leaders confirmed that the Japan-Saudi Arabia relationship will be elevated a “strategic partnership.”
(1) Prime Minister Abe extended his sincere welcome to the historic visit to Japan by King of Saudi Arabia for the first time in 46 years. Prime Minister Abe explained that the bilateral relationship has advanced following the visit to Japan by H.R.H. Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, in September last year, and he hopes to build on the visit by King Salman to further strengthen Japan’s relationship with Saudi Arabia which is the a cornerstone of stability in the Middle East.
(2) In response, King Salman expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the invitation and hospitality, and stated that he hopes the strategic partnership between the two countries to grow stronger through the Japan-Saudi Vision 2030 (PDF) that has just been formulated upon this visit. King Salman also stated that efforts to resolve the crises in Palestine, Syria and Yemen should be stepped up for stability in the Middle East. Describing the terrorism as the greatest threat, the King explained that Japan and Saudi Arabia are fundamental partners, and that inter-religious and inter-culture dialogues, and tolerance and coexistence among peoples is important.
2. Cooperation on realizing the Saudi Vision 2030
(1) Prime Minister Abe and King Salman welcomed the formulation of the Japan-Saudi Vision 2030. Prime Minister Abe stated that it will be meaningful to ensure that the reform of the two countries strategies are interconnected organically in a manner that enhances the diversity, innovativeness and soft value of their economies and societies. The Prime Minister Abe expressed his intention to promote steadily ambitious cooperation in line with the guidance set out in the Japan-Saudi Vision 2030, including thorough the implementation of the 31 priority projects. Furthermore, the Prime Minister stated that Japan also hopes to contribute to realizing the special economic zones concept which presents a model for Saudi Arabia’s economic reform. In relation to this, the Prime Minister asked King Salman to ensure the safety of Japanese expatriates in Saudi Arabia, who play a central role in deepening bilateral relations.King Salman replied that Saudi Arabia welcomes investment from Japanese companies based on the Japan-Saudi Vision 2030, and stated that the King intends to pay attention to the security of all communities, including the Japanese expatriates.
(2) Prime Minister Abe and King Salman exchanged views on cooperation in the energy field. The King stated that Saudi Arabia is committed to stable supply of energy to Japan.
(3) In addition, Prime Minister Abe explained that he hopes to receive support for the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco in Tokyo. King Salman replied that he will continue consideration as he hopes Japanese investors to invest in Saudi Aramco.
(4) Prime Minister Abe and King Salman welcomed the entry into force of the Japan-Saudi Arabia investment agreement that will contribute to further strengthening trade and investment relations. In addition, the Prime Minister requested that Saudi Arabia promptly lift restrictions on the import of Japanese food products be lifted. King Salman explained that he intends to continue consideration at an expert level on this matter for the benefit of both countries.
3. Cooperation in the political and security fields
(1) Prime Minister Abe stated that he hopes to strengthen coordination in political and security fields, intends to hold vice foreign ministerial dialogue promptly, and hopes to promote defense cooperation based on the memorandum signed between the Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and Minister of Defense of Japan in September 2016. In relation to this, Prime Minister Abe welcomed the appointment of the first military attaché to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Tokyo.
(2) Prime Minister Abe stated he appreciates Saudi Arabia’s efforts to tackle terrorism with multi-faceted measures and that Japan will make contribution in non-military fields such as humanitarian assistance with conviction that ‘‘the best way is to go in the Middle’’ in dealing with the situation in the Middle East.
(3) King Salman expressed his hope to reinvigorate exchanges with Japan at various levels, and by all means hopes that Prime Minister Abe will visit Saudi Arabia again.
4. Regional affairs
Prime Minister Abe and King Salman also exchanged views on the situations in the Middle East situation and in East Asia.