– Where did the Qatari-Japanese relations reach after 50 years?
I moved from the friendship stage to the strategic partnership.
What are the main aspects of cooperation between Qatar and Japan?
There is a strategic dialogue between the two countries and a trade exchange that exceeded $ 56 billion in 2021.
What are the key sectors in which Qatar and Japan work together?
Energy, technology, education and health sectors.
Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of its inauguration, Qatari-Japanese relations continue to move forward toward transformation into a strategic partnership in a number of areas, including political, economic, defense and cultural.
Since February this year, the two countries have started celebrating the half-century since the inauguration of diplomatic relations, through a package of various activities that monitor the course of relations and their development over five decades.
In March 2022, Qatari’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that relations between Doha and Tokyo “moved from the stage of friendship to the stage of strategic partnership.”
The Qatari minister at the time emphasized that his country attaches great importance to its relations with Japan, especially as it is one of its main partners in the fields of energy, trade, investment and development, and other fields of cooperation.
He explained that the celebration of the half-century since the introduction of relations between the two friendly countries “offers a renewed opportunity to consolidate the comprehensive partnership by opening new channels of cooperation and exchange of experiences.”
Diplomatic relations between Doha and Tokyo were established in 1972, and continued to grow over the years until the two countries agreed to take relations to a higher level of strategic partnership.
In January 2019, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, visited the Japanese capital, Tokyo, and signed an agreement to initiate a strategic dialogue between the two countries. This dialogue was launched in August 2021.
Also at the economic level, relations between the two countries have grown remarkably through regular meetings of the Joint Economic Committee.
The trade exchange between the 5 Gulf countries (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait and the Sultanate of Oman), mentioned in the annual report of the Japanese Ministry of Finance, amounted to about $ 56.85 billion in 2021, compared to $ 34.09 billion in 2020.
The trade balance surplus between Qatar and Japan increased by 10.27% during 2021, compared to 7.62% during 2020, with a growth rate of 34.78%; While Katari’s exports increased year-on-year by 11.16%. VNG makes up a large part of this trade.
Qatar is the third supplier of crude oil to Japan, while Japan mainly exports vehicles, railways, trams, heavy equipment, electronically and electrically to Qatar.
Doha has investment assets in Japan estimated at $ 300 billion, according to Qatari Ambassador to Qatar Kazuo Sunaga last year.
Japanese companies are taking part in many infrastructure projects for the FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Qatar in the winter of 2022.
In terms of investments, many Japanese companies are participating in a number of Qatari development projects, most notably those related to the 2022 World Cup.
Qatar is the first Gulf country to launch a joint venture with Japan through the Qatar Steel Company to take over the leadership of the region’s iron and steel industry.
Japanese companies are also working on projects to expand the North Field, the Doha metro and the giant solar power plant in the Al-Kharsa’a area.
The number of Japanese companies wholly owned by the Japanese side in the Qatari market reached 35, with a capital estimated at $ 410 million, while the number of joint Qatari-Japanese companies reached 23 with a total capital of $ 2.2 billion, according to Qatari newspaper Al-Raya.
Expansion is a feature of Qatari-Japanese relations, as cooperation has been extended to the fields of security, science, technology and digitization, as well as culture, education, health and sports.
Qatar has strengthened its cooperation with Japan in the information technology and artificial intelligence sectors, in addition to the experimental industrial wastewater desalination plant and the “Human Genome” project, which aims to obtain more accurate and appropriate medical treatment.
popular and cultural relationships
Qatar and Japan are linked by popular and humanitarian ties reflected in Qatari support for the return of Japanese citizens stranded in other countries at the start of the Corona crisis, and the evacuation of some Japanese from Afghanistan, as well as Qatari aid worth $ 100 million to the Japanese government following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Qatar University supports Islamic studies in Japan, and the Qatar Chair for Islamic Area Studies at Waseda University in Japan was launched in May 2021.
In February 2022, the Japanese Ambassador to Doha, Satoshi Maeda, praised the close and growing relations between the two countries, describing them as “historic and deeply rooted.”
The official Qatar News Agency quoted Maeda as saying that both countries are willing to develop these relations at all levels during the coming period.
On June 10, 2022, the exhibition “Dialogue on Paper – The Legacy of the Qatar-Japan Cultural Year” opened in Tokyo, an exhibition organized by the Cultural Years Program to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries .
The exhibition includes 28 pieces created by Qatari artist Youssef Ahmed and his Japanese counterpart, Hayaki Nishigaki, and the exhibition is scheduled to continue until June 30.
The two artists mix the Japanese “washi” dough, which is a historical symbol of Japanese culture, with the dough made from the leaves of Qatari palm trees, to come up with a new hybrid leaf that serves as a literal medium. , which represents the merger. of two different environments and cultures.
On the sidelines of the exhibition, Aisha Ghanem Al-Attiyah, Director of Cultural Diplomacy at Qatar Museums, said: “We are honored to have long-term relationships with our first cultural partner (Japan), which has been consolidated over the past ten years. . “
“We look forward to more cultural exchanges between the Cultural Years Initiative and cultural institutions in Japan,” Al-Attiyah added.