A new step forward in deepening Saudi-Japan relations

Iwai Fumio

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to Saudi Arabia is the first by a Japanese prime minister since former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe traveled to the Kingdom in 2020, and as the ambassador of Japan to Saudi Arabia, I am truly honored to be present to witness this visit.
There is no better opportunity to deepen people-to-people — and, by extension, country-to-country relationships — than through actual face-to-face, knee-to-knee conversations, even though many events and meetings have been conducted online in recent years.
In this regard, I am confident that this visit will amount to a new step forward in further developing Japan-Saudi relations.
Our bilateral relations are not limited to the energy sector, but continue to diversify in various areas.
As for the diplomatic arena, Saudi Arabia has been mediating dialogue between parties, and providing generous humanitarian and development assistance for the sake of peace and stability in the Middle East region.
The partnership between Saudi Arabia and Japan is essential for Japan to promote its vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific that achieves regional and global stability and prosperity.
As for the economic field, bilateral cooperation between the public and private sectors has been expanding. The entire nation of Saudi Arabia is working together on economic and social reforms under the Saudi Vision 2030 program, and I am impressed every day with their enthusiasm.
Our two countries launched the Japan-Saudi Vision 2030 in 2017 as a framework of bilateral collaboration to actively cooperate in achieving Saudi Arabia’s reform efforts.
Under this framework, Khalid Al-Falih, minister of investment of Saudi Arabia, visited Japan to attend the 6th Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 ministerial meeting in 2022.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Saudi foreign minister, visited Japan twice in the same year to discuss with his Japanese counterpart Hayashi Yoshimasa the development of friendly relations between the two countries in various fields.
In addition, Saudi Minister of Housing Majid Al-Hogail visited Japan and signed a memorandum of cooperation in the field of housing and also visited a number of “smart cities.”
During the visit to Saudi Arabia by Nishimura Yasutoshi, Japan’s minister of economy, trade and industry, last December, the First Japan-Saudi Energy Ministerial Dialogue was held in Riyadh to discuss stable energy supply, realization of a carbon-neutral society, and cooperation in the green growth strategy with Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.
The exchange of visits demonstrates that both countries are moving forward together, envisioning the same future.
Despite Japan and Saudi Arabia being seemingly far apart in language, culture and geography, we hope to build a relationship symbolized by deep trust and friendship, in which we can compensate for each other’s shortcomings.
To this end, I sincerely hope that more opportunities will be created for cultural and social exchanges that will enable us to understand more deeply.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to Arab News for giving me an opportunity to deliver my message to the people of Saudi Arabia on the occasion of Prime Minister Kishida’s visit, and sincerely wish the government and the people of Saudi Arabia continued success and prosperity.