Japan-Qatar Ties Not Impacted By Geopolitical Tensions: Envoy


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Joelyn Baluyut | The Peninsula

Doha, Qatar: In a press conference marking the birthday of His Majesty Emperor Naruhito, Ambassador of Japan to Qatar H E Satoshi Maeda said that despite regional tensions, Japan's relations with Qatar remain unaffected.

The celebration organised by the Japanese Embassy at The Ritz Carlton Hotel will be held tonight where officials from different government organisations and the Japanese community in Qatar will come together.

Ambassador Maeda stressed that while regional instability concerns Japan due to its reliance on Middle Eastern energy supplies, it doesn't undermine the strong bilateral relations.

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“Regional tensions should not have a negative impact on solid bilateral relations. However, for Japan, which relies on the Middle East for most of its energy supplies destabilisation of the region is a major concern.”

He referenced a meeting between the Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Japan Prime Minister H E Fumio Kishida last December during COP28 in Dubai, where they reaffirmed commitments to strengthen relations in various areas, including energy, politics, economy and security. Maeda praised Qatar's mediation efforts concerning the Gaza Strip.

“They agreed to work closely together to strengthen these relations and at the same time the two leaders confirmed that the two countries will continue to work together to improve the humanitarian situation and calm the situation. Japan highly values Qatar's mediation efforts on the situation surrounding the Gaza Strip.”

Regarding Japan's stance on the Gaza conflict, Maeda expressed condolences for the victims and urged for a humanitarian ceasefire to facilitate aid and ensure protection of civilians.

He stressed the urgency of releasing hostages and preventing further civilian casualties. “The hostilities are deepening even after four months now from October 7, and we're seriously concerned about the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Gaza, especially around the Rafah offensive.”

“Clearly, if military operations continue without sufficient measures being taken to evacuate and protect civilians, it will lead to devastating consequences on the civilian populations, and it will become increasingly difficult for humanitarian aid operations to take place.”

“Japan believes that a humanitarian ceasefire needs to be realised promptly to ensure a conducive environment for sufficient humanitarian assistance as well as release of the remaining hostages. Based on this position, we call on all the parties concerned to act immediately from a humanitarian viewpoint. Japan will proactively and persistently engage in diplomatic efforts, such as approaching relevant countries.”

Looking ahead, Maeda highlighted commitment to expanding cooperation with Qatar, particularly in energy and economic sectors. He mentioned Japan's interest in areas like semiconductors, batteries, and priority sectors such as digital transformation, green transformation, and bio/healthcare.

While no official visits were confirmed, the envoy hinted at potential high-ranking visits to strengthen the bilateral relations.“I would not be surprised if we will witness the visits of high-ranking officials given the excellent bilateral relations.”

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