Japan offers technical support to Sultanate

Japan will sign an agreement with Oman to extend technical assistance in all fields, Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono said on Wednesday. Taro, the first Japanese foreign minister to visit the Sultanate in 27 years, expressed the intent to further strengthen partnership and cooperation between the two countries, especially energy, oil and gas, tourism and water. Japan’s prime minister had visited the Sultanate in 2014. In a press conference jointly addressed by his Omani counterpart Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, Taro expressed his satisfaction with the continually growing bilateral relations between Oman and Japan. “There is a lot we can do together. We look for more cooperation in all sectors,” he said.

Taro was in Oman as part of his Middle East visit with the objectives of ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’, which calls for promoting stability and prosperity of the region as a whole. Expressing concern over the developments in the Middle East, Japan offered its assistance for combating unrest in the region. “Japan’s economy is directly connected to the Middle East, so we have a big role to play,” he said. He called for constructive steps for advancing the peace process, strengthening bilateral relations and providing assistance to refugees.

He also expressed his gratitude to Oman for its support to Japan during the crisis following earthquake in March 2011. At the outset, Alawi said the two countries and their peoples enjoyed strong relations in various fields. He said both the countries are working towards supporting bilateral cooperation to promote business. “Japan’s support to Oman has been outstanding. We expect more investment from the country especially in projects in Duqm,” he said. Later briefing the media, Norio Maruyama, Press Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the minister has been on the Middle East visit with the objective of implementing the policies announced in Manama dialogue based on ‘Kono Four Principles’.

They include intellectual and human contribution, investment in ‘people’, enduring efforts and enhancing political efforts. Referring to the technical assistance to Oman, Norio said it will be a kind of cost-sharing agreement. “Japanese professionals will be sent to Oman to share their expertise with their local counterparts. Expenses will be borne by the Omani government,” he said. According to him, both the sides will strengthen cooperation in the energy sector using Japan’s advanced technologies. “The investment agreement signed in July 2017 gives a lot of opportunities to both the countries,” he said.

He said Japanese companies are actively involved in oil and gas development and LNG projects. Acknowledging the importance of stability on sea lanes for peace and prosperity, he said both sides shared the common interest in strengthening the maritime order. “Looking at the geopolitical importance of Oman, both countries have strong cooperation on maritime security, including anti-piracy operations,” he said. On behalf of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, His Highness Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmood al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers, received Taro Kono, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan and his accompanying delegation in Muscat on Wednesday.

The minister conveyed greetings of Japanese leaders and their good wishes to His Majesty the Sultan, the government and the people of Oman more growth and progress. The meeting between two officials reviewed the growing relations between the two countries and the joint efforts to enhance cooperation in many fields Taro Kono pointed out Japan’s keenness to give bilateral relations a new boost to the economic and investment aspects between the two countries, praising the wise policy adopted by the Sultanate at the regional and international levels, stressing the importance of talks with officials in the Sultanate and their positive effects.  The meeting was attended by Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs. It was also attended by Japan’s Ambassador to the Sultanate, Mitsugo Saito.

ALAWI RECEIVES TARO: Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, received in his office on Wednesday Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, for Japan. During the meeting, the two sides reviewed aspects of the bilateral relations and the existing cooperation between the two friendly countries on various diplomatic, economic, investment, commercial and cultural fields, and means of enhancing and developing them. — ONA

SAMUEL KUTTY