Japan seeks cooperation under Indo-Pacific Strategy

Muscat - 

Taro Kono, Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday said that his country seeks Oman’s cooperation under the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy in the Middle East, which plays an important role for the economic security of Japan.

Kono said he is also concerned with the current developments in the region and is committed to participating politically in the Middle East issues. He said that Japan’s economy is directly linked to the stability and peace in the region and Japan can play a role to achieve this stability. Kono arrived in the sultanate on Wednesday as part of his six-day visit to the Middle East, which began on December 24.

Through this strategy, Japan aims to support and strengthen strategic collaboration with India, which has a historical relationship with East Africa, as well as the US and Australia, Norio Maruyama, press secretary in the Japanese foreign ministry said while briefing the press at InterContinental Muscat on Wednesday.

“This strategy is expected to improve connectivity between Asia and Africa and promote stability and prosperity of the region as a whole,” he said. Japan will expand infrastructure development, trade and investment, and enhance business environment and human development from East Asia as a starting point to the Middle East and Africa.

“The strategy will help in providing capacity-building assistance to the coastal countries of the Indo-Pacific, by strengthening maritime law, besides cooperation in the fields of anti-piracy, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, etc,” Maruyama explained.

Japan is already cooperating with the sultanate in maritime environment, fish, environment projection and other fields. “There is a real need for diversification of Oman’s economy and in this, Japan has a lot of potential to help the country,” added Maruyama. Earlier during the day, H E Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs held a meeting with his Japanese counterpart, during which the two sides reviewed aspects of bilateral relations.

Meanwhile, underlining Oman’s role in the region, Kono stated that the country holds a unique position in the contribution of peace, prosperity and stability in the region. He added that Japan is looking forward to cooperating in many economic projects, especially the Japanese projects in the Special Economic Zone in Duqm.

He noted that an exception agreement has been made with the sultanate and stressed the importance of accelerating the implementation of these agreements to ensure more cooperation. Speaking of Kono’s visit, Maruyama said, “The visit began with Israel, followed by Palestine, Jordan, now Oman and next is Turkey.”

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