On Monday, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will embark on his first visit to the UAE as the Prime Minister, as part of his Gulf tour that began with a visit to Jeddah on Sunday. Following his visit to the UAE, he will proceed to Doha.
During his visit, Mr. Kishida is scheduled to hold discussions with President Sheikh Mohamed to strengthen the economic ties between the two countries, which have a history of over 50 years. Japan was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the UAE in 1972.
According to Mr. Kishida, the relationship between Japan and the UAE has continued to grow stronger. The UAE serves as a significant hub and gateway to the region, and it houses a large number of Japanese expatriates (approximately 4,500) and Japanese companies (approximately 340) in the Middle East and Africa.
The bilateral cooperation between Japan and the UAE extends beyond traditional areas such as energy and the economy. It encompasses various fields including climate change, education, science and technology, outer space, and defense.
Furthermore, the UAE ranks as Japan’s seventh-largest trading partner globally and has been a major supplier of oil for Japan, meeting 20 percent of its oil requirements over the past 50 years. In 2022, trade between the two countries increased by 57.5 percent, surpassing Dh200 billion ($54.4 billion), compared to Dh127 billion in the previous year.
During a working visit to Tokyo in June, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, held discussions with Mr Kishida to strengthen the strategic partnership between Japan and the UAE in various areas, including energy. In particular, they emphasized the expanding bilateral relationship in the field of space cooperation.
Japan has been supporting the UAE’s space policy for several years, including the successful launches of the KhalifaSat satellite in 2018 and the Mars Exploration Hope Probe in 2020, both carried out by Japanese H2-A rockets. Notably, the joint operation between the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and the Japanese space start-up company ispace resulted in the world’s first attempt by a private company to land a Moon-surface rover, the UAE’s lunar probe Rashid Rover in April.
Mr Kishida expressed confidence in future-oriented efforts and affirmed Japan’s commitment to supporting further collaboration in the space field. Additionally, in April, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Cop28 President-designate, met with Mr. Kishida to discuss climate action and cooperation ahead of the Cop28 climate summit scheduled to take place in Dubai’s Expo City this year.
Mr. Kishida praised the UAE’s responsible approach in ensuring global energy security and its proactive efforts in addressing climate change issues, reaffirming Japan’s commitment to working closely with the UAE towards the success of Cop28.