Kuwaiti-Japanese distinguished ties goes back over half century

By Sara Al-Mukhaizeem

KUWAIT, May 10 (KUNA) — His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah’s forthcoming visit to Japan is of a special importance.
Japan will be the last leg of His Highness the Premier’s Asian tour that has included Bangladesh, Vietnam and South Korea.
His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak is due in Tokyo on Friday, May 13, on a three-day official visit to seek bolstering ties and friendship between the two Asian states.
The agenda includes a meeting for His Highness the Premier with Emperor Akihito, and talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Bilateral economic ties date back to 1958, when the late Sheikh Abdullah Alآ­Salem Alآ­Sabah granted Arabian Oil Company, Ltd. oil and gas concessions in the offshore Neutral Zone (now Divided Zone).
Japan was among the first world countries to recognize Kuwait’s independence, through a resolution adopted by the Japanese cabinet on December 8, 1961. Baghdad soon banned Japanese goods from Iraqi markets.
Japan’s decision was based on balanced interests, especially after Tokyo obtained a concession to manage Kuwait’s share in the joint oilfields with Saudi Arabia. The concession ended in 2001.
In February 1962, Kuwait’s first ambassador to Japan Sulaiman Alآ­Sanae arrived in Tokyo. Then a Japanese embassy was opened in Kuwait in March 1963.
Japanese teams were in Kuwait since 1961 to study the Gulf markets.
Bilateral trade ties have flourished the past years, as Japan is among the major importers of Kuwait’s oil, at the time when the Japanese products flowed into the Kuwaiti markets.
In the aftermath of the Iraqi brutal invasion in 1990, Japan backed Kuwait’s right and resolutions of international legitimacy. It condemned the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, providing USD 13 billion for efforts to liberate it.
Japan committed itself to the UNSC resolutions of economic boycotting of Iraq, despite the huge losses of the Japanese companies as a result.
Following the destructive quake that hit the Pacific coast of Japan’s Fukushima prefecture in 2011, followed by a Tsunami, Kuwait offered the country 5 million oil barrels, worth USD 500 million, as aid.
In addition, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah offered USD three million for the rehabilitation of the marine science in Fukushima, besides USD 2 million for the Japanese Red Cross Society.
The year 1995 is considered a significant one for bilateral relations, as Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako visited Kuwait in January of the year.
During the visit, late Amir Sheikh Jaber Alآ­Ahmad Alآ­Sabah awarded the Crown Prince the Mubarak Alآ­Kabeer medal, Kuwait’s highest honorary one, in appreciation of Japan’s support to the country throughout the Iraqi invasion.
Then Sheikh Jaber visited Tokyo in October 1995 to express appreciation over Japan’s role in the Liberation.
The two countries share views toward the international issues and this was manifested in several major votes at the UNSC.
On the economic level, Kuwait always views Japan a distinguished partner, seeking to enhance bilateral trade and investments. (end) jk.msa

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