Arab News Japan
TOKYO: In response to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s announcement Friday that he is stepping down due to health reasons, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, took to Twitter to wish Abe well and praise his leadership.
“Under the leadership of my dear friend @AbeShinzo, UAE-Japanese relations flourished and reached unprecedented heights,” tweeted the crown prince. “His global contributions made the world a safer and more prosperous place. We wish him good health, and all the best in the next chapter of his career.”
Bilateral relations between the United Arab Emirates and Japan stood out from the beginning, with Japan being among the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with the UAE in 1971. The UAE Embassy in Tokyo was established two years later, in December 1973, and the Japanese Embassy in Abu Dhabi in April 1974.
In fact, the UAE and Japan have enjoyed strong bilateral economic ties dating back to 1961 when the first shipment of UAE crude oil was exported to Japan from the Umm al-Shaif offshore field in Abu Dhabi.
In recent years, trade between the two countries has grown and the Japanese community in the UAE is the biggest in the Middle East.
In addition, Shinzo Abe visited the UAE a few times during his term and leaders of both countries signed a number of agreements on multiple fronts, including trade, energy, investment, technology, space and education.
The UAE is Japan’s second biggest oil supplier. By September 2019, it was providing around 30 percent of Japan’s total oil imports. In 2018, Japan acquired a 40-year oil concession in Abu Dhabi.
Japan is also the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s largest international importer of oil and gas products, with approximately 25% of its crude oil imported from the UAE.