Meeting between Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait
(Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)
(Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)
On Thursday, March 22, commencing at 5:30 p.m. for around 30 minutes, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met with H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait, who visited Japan as a state guest, at the Prime Minister's Office. Following that the meeting, Prime Minister Noda and H.H. Sheikh Sabah witnessed the signing of the Japan-Kuwait Investment Agreement, and Prime Minister Noda invited H.H. Sheikh Sabah to a dinner. Attending on the Japanese side were Mr. Yukio Edano, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Mr. Hiroyuki Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Ryuji Yamane, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Akihisa Nagashima, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister, and Mr. Yasuyoshi Komizo, Japanese Ambassador to Kuwait among others. Attending on the Kuwaiti side were H.E. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, H.E. Mr. Mustafa Al-Jassim Al-Shamali, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, H.E. Mr. Anas Al-Khalid Al-Saleh, Minister of Commerce and Industry, H.E. Mr. Hani Abdl-Aziz Husein, Minister of Oil, and H.E. Mr. Abdulrahman Al-Otaibi, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan among others. The outline of the meetings is as follows.
1. Bilateral relations
(1) At the beginning, Prime Minister Noda expressed his gratitude for the donation of 5 million barrels of crude oil as a personal initiative of H.H. Sheikh Sabah at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and for the donation of 3 million dollars to Aquamarine Fukushima and of 2 million dollars to the Japan Red Cross. Prime Minister Noda explained that the assistance received from Kuwait has been effectively used for the reconstruction of Iwate, Fukushima and Miyagi Prefectures. Noting that last year was the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Kuwait, Prime Minister Noda said that he would hope to use this opportunity for the advancement of bilateral relations in a multi-layered manner, and across a broad range of sectors.
In response, H.H. Sheikh Sabah once again expressed his sympathies to the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and said he would hope for the recovery as early as possible. He once again thanked Japan for its contribution at the time of the war between Kuwait and Iraq, and said that he would hope to develop Japan-Kuwait relations in various sectors, including politics, economics and culture.
(2) Prime Minister Noda highly valued the leading role Kuwait has been performing since its independence, by promoting democratization in the Gulf region ahead of other Gulf nations. Both sides shared the view to contribute to democratization, peace and stability in the Middle East.
(3) Prime Minister Noda expressed his gratitude for the long-term stable supply of crude oil from Kuwait, and said that he would hope Kuwait's continuous supply of crude oil needed by Japan. H.H. Sheikh Sabah replied that Kuwait's crude oil exports would be for all countries, and stated that Kuwait will continue to supply crude oil in order to ensure the stability of the oil situation.
Both sides shared the view to further expand bilateral relations in the energy conservation and renewable energy sectors, including integrated solar combined cycle power generation.
(4) Both sides shared the view that the signing of the Japan-Kuwait Investment Agreement would promise to bring greater momentum to investment between the two countries, and H.H. Sheikh Sabah said that Kuwait would endeavor to put a double taxation treaty into effect promptly. In addition, both sides shared the necessity to conclude the Japan-GCC FTA negotiations promptly.
Prime Minister Noda mentioned that given the demand for large-scale infrastructure in Kuwait, he would hope the country would utilize the technologies and expertise which Japanese companies have had in the power, water and other sectors, whereupon H.H. Sheikh Sabah highly valued the activities and contributions of Japanese companies in Kuwait.
Additionally, Prime Minister Noda asked for a review of the Kuwait Offset Program, which is acting as an entry barrier for Japanese companies, at which point H.H. Sheikh Sabah said that he would consider reviewing such as program.
(5) Both sides shared the view that the lessons and experience of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident would be shared with Kuwait. Furthermore, both sides shared the view that amid the major changes occurred in the regional security environment they would hold a security dialogue, including maritime security, and that they would develop relations in such sectors as education, scientific research, including nanotechnology, environmental conservation and international medical exchange.
2. Regional affairs
At the dinner following the meeting, Prime Minister Noda and H.H. Sheikh Sabah exchanged open and frank views on the Iranian nuclear issue, on the situation in Syria, and on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa.
(*The foregoing is a provisional translation. The date indicated above denotes the date of issue of the original press release in Japanese.)
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