Japan and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to a multiple of cooperations deals on technology, climate change, energy, AI, space, and aviation, during Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to the Gulf country and the staging of the UAE-Japan Business Forum.
Kishida met with Emirati President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi on Monday, during which they agreed to a new Japan-UAE innovation partnership, Japan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
The partnership would include a new scheme to accelerate energy security, as well as a framework for the UAE to cooperate with and invest in Japan on chip and battery technology, according to the statement issued late on Monday.
The two leaders also adopted a joint statement on climate action, which said that both remain committed to the goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and acknowledged “the role of clean hydrogen and derivatives including ammonia in accelerating the energy transition”.
State news agency WAM also said the two leaders discussed a comprehensive strategic partnership between the UAE and Japan. They signed several agreements covering different sectors, WAM added.
Kishida also later attended a UAE-Japan business forum during which the UAE and Japan inked 23 agreements and MoUs. The agreements aim to bolster economic, trade and investment ties between the two countries in the fields of energy, industry, advanced technology, AI, space, health and transport, as well as environmental conservation.
A separate deal during Kishida’s visit saw UAE national carriers Etihad Airways and Emirates pledge to expand their operations to Japan. Both carriers currently offer over 20 weekly flights to Japan.
Kishida will now travel to Qatar on Tuesday, officials said.
Japan is actively developing greener and renewable energy technologies and aims to be carbon neutral by 2050. Kishida will also try to promote Japanese know-how as energy-producing countries have pledged to achieve a net zero transition, especially ahead of the COP28 climate summit to be held in Dubai in November.
His UAE visit follows a stop in Saudi Arabia on Sunday in which Riyadh said it remained committed to securing oil supplies for Japan and would continue cooperating with Tokyo on clean hydrogen, ammonia and recycled carbon fuels.
Kishida and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, agreed to launch “Manar” initiative, which will help countries around the world achieve their net zero transitions, Saudi state news agency SPA reported on Monday.
Tokyo and Riyadh are also set to start a new strategic dialogue at the foreign minister level - a move both leaders welcomed in their summit meeting, according to a statement released by the Japanese foreign ministry on Monday.
“Both leaders agreed to further energise exchanges, which cover politics, diplomacy, and security, between the two countries,” the statement said.
Japan and the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will in 2024 resume talks on a free trade agreement, said Hikariko Ono, press secretary for Japan’s foreign ministry. The GCC is a six-nation regional union that comprises Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain.
“We don’t really have any target year to complete a negotiation,” she said on Monday, adding that previous trade talks with the GCC were suspended in 2009.
State oil giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has previously said that Japan imports approximately 25% of its crude oil from the UAE, making it ADNOC’s largest international importer of oil and gas products.
“The secure energy supply from the UAE has supported Japan’s economic growth for many years,” Kishida wrote in a piece published by UAE state news agency WAM on Sunday.
A senior official at Japan’s foreign ministry told reporters this week that Kishida planned to discuss energy markets during his trip, while also aiming to offer Japanese technologies for net zero transition.