Japan Ambassador Kenjiro Monji.
By Azmat Haroon
Doha: Trade and energy cooperation between Qatar and Japan will top the agenda of Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe as he arrives in Qatar today, accompanied by a 200-member high level delegation.
The premier will hold high level talks with the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and the Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani during his two-day visit.
Qatar and Japan will also sign agreements at the Emiri Diwan that will enable cooperation between Qatar Petroleum and two Japanese organisations in the energy sector. A third agreement will seek to promote policy dialogue between the two countries.
Addressing a press briefing ahead of the visit, Japanese Ambassador Kenjiro Monji said Japan was ready to share experiences with Qatar on how to deal with large natural disasters, including earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear accidents.
He, however, denied reports about Qatar seeking to develop nuclear technology in cooperation with Japan.
“I don’t think Qatar has a plan to develop nuclear technology. I read in the newspapers that Qatar is interested in it but my understanding is that Qatar is more interested in solar technology or renewable energy,” Monji told reporters yesterday.
He said that Qatar was particularly concerned about regional safety and security, and the leaders of Qatar and Japan would discuss security concerns among other issues.
The envoy said that the Gulf countries were also reviewing their position on the free trade agreement with Japan.
“Our understanding is that the GCC countries are reviewing their position. We have always sought an early resumption of the FTA between Japan and the GCC. I hope there will be progress.”
The visiting delegation comprises at least 50 CEOs and presidents of top businesses in Japan, which includes officials from trade, academic, infrastructure, medical, agriculture and food sectors.
Japan is one of the largest trading partners of Qatar, with the trade volume between the two countries reaching $30bn. Monji said Japan wanted to diversify its ties with Qatar.
The Japanese PM is also expected to visit the Hamad International Airport and the Museum of Islamic Art.