Why Japan seeks playing a larger role in the Middle East?

From Dubai, Saif Al Abdullah


Japan, which relies on the Middle East to secure its energy resources, seeks to play a more active role to ensure peace and prosperity in the region.

Japan's efforts to ensure stability in the Middle East became more apparent after the Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono's recent visit to five countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, The Japan News reported.

 In Egypt, Kono held the first meeting of the Japan-Arab Political Dialogue, in which participants issued a joint statement calling for the immediate implementation of UN sanctions against North Korea. 

The report adds that participants have not only succeeded in supporting economic and trade cooperation, but also noted the need to strengthen cooperation in the political field.

 The political dialogue was held to coincide with the meeting of Arab foreign ministers.

 As with the Japan-Arab Economic Forum, which has held four meetings since 2009, regular political dialogue will expand Japanese diplomacy, according to the report.


  “We should send a message that the time has come to apply more intense pressure on N. Korea," Kono said, adding that "North Korean workers sent to the Middle East are in fact an important source of revenue for North Korea, and we should not allow any Gaps when applying sanctions."


 The UN Security Council has adopted a sanctions resolution banning new work permits for North Korean workers, totalling more than 1,000 in Kuwait and nearly the same number in Qatar. 


 During his meetings with Arab foreign ministers, Kono also called for cooperation implementing the sanctions. The foreign minister said his country had stopped issuing visas to North Korean workers.


During the direct talks, Kono said he supported Kuwait's mediation efforts to resolve the crisis between Qatar and other countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, this comes three months after cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar.


 This comes at the same time as Qatar is Japan's third largest supplier of crude oil and liquefied natural gas, while Saudi Arabia is Japan's largest supplier.

 This explains why a diplomatic row between Qatar and Saudi Arabia is not desirable in terms of energy security for Japan.  

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