By Syeda Amtul
JEDDAH — The great progress and development achieved by the Kingdom during the last three decades has come in for praise from the new Japanese consul general who has taken charge of his office here recently.
Masayuki Miyamoto, in his second diplomatic stint in the Kingdom, served at the Japanese embassy for about seven years after joining the foreign ministry of his country in 1981. Miyamoto, who studied in Syria too, is fluent in Arabic language. After leaving Riyadh in 1988, Miyamoto served in several Arab countries, USA and the headquarters of the ministry.
In a statement to Saudi Gazette, Miyamoto said he was very happy to return to Saudi Arabia after 30 years, and he highly praised the great development and the progress that the Kingdom witnessed in various fields during the past decades.
He stressed that Japan and Saudi Arabia enjoy a long history of friendship and cooperation. «The relationship has been closer and deeper in political, economic and cultural fields particularly in recent years,» he said. As an indication of that, he pointed out to the intensive exchange of visits of the leaders of the two countries.
Shinzo Abe, Japanese prime minister, visited the Kingdom in 2013, followed by the visit of King Salman (the then crown prince) to Japan in 2014.
Prince Naruhito, crown prince of Japan, visited the Kingdom to offer condolences on behalf of Emperor Akihito, the Japanese people and government on the demise of King Abdullah in 2015. It was followed by the visit of Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, to Japan in 2016.
Last March, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman visited Japan, a visit described as a shift in strategic partnership between the two countries. The historic visit will greatly contribute to the strengthening of relations between the two countries, in which 13 agreements and 7 MoUs for cooperation in several areas were signed.
Miyamoto said that “Japan imports more than a third of its oil needs from the Kingdom. Japan is the Kingdom’s third-largest trading partner, as Saudi Arabia exports to Japan about $45 billion worth of oil products annually, while Japanese exports are valued at $ 7.5 billion”.
Some Japanese statistics show that the volume of Japanese investments in the Kingdom is more than $16 billion, mostly in the Western Region, and the joint venture PetroRabigh is the largest investment with a capital of around $10 billion.
The consul general hailed the “Saudi Vision 2030”, pointing out that the two countries formed “the Joint Saudi-Japanese Group for Vision 2030”, in order for Japan to cooperate with the Kingdom in bringing the vision into reality.
At the end of his statement, Miyamoto wished progress and prosperity for the Kingdom under the leadership of King Salman.