Tokyo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz continued his state tour of Japan on Friday after signing a number of agreements to enhance bilateral security and energy cooperation this week.
The Saudi Crown Prince met with Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi and Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera at his residence in Tokyo on Thursday, along with ambassadors and other senior diplomatic figures from both countries. Crown Prince Salman, who is Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, highlighted the importance of the economic ties between the two nations.
Crown Prince Salman described Japan as a “friend” of Saudi Arabia and said that he wished the country and its people every success. He noted the strong relations between Riyadh and Tokyo and Japan’s concern for the Arab world.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Crown Prince met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He confirmed that Riyadh is committed to further strengthening bilateral ties with Tokyo. Abe said that Saudi–Japanese relations began a century ago, when a Japanese Muslim first visited Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj, adding that bilateral ties had witnessed tremendous progress over the past century.
“Over the next hundred years, we are determined to build a new era of relations with Saudi Arabia,” Abe added.
A Memorandum of Understanding regarding joint investment was signed between the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and Japan’s Cooperation Center for the Middle East. Japan and Saudi Arabia also agreed to accelerate talks for civil nuclear cooperation that could enable Japanese manufacturers to export nuclear reactors to the country.
The two countries also agreed to enhance security cooperation, ensuring the safety of land and sea lanes and combatting terrorism.
Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Masaru Sato told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The Japanese government is pleased with the three agreements that have been signed. They will promote investment, particularly regarding desalination and water purification. This is not to mention the progress seen in the activities of the Business Council.”
“We expect to see further steps aimed at boosting economic cooperation between Japan and Saudi Arabia,” he added.