TOKYO: Japan’s foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi will visit Saudi Arabia later this week, during a trip that includes visits to Portugal and France.
The Japanese embassy in Saudi Arabia also released a statement on Tuesday, detailing the foreign minister’s trip. He will arrive in Riyadh on Oct. 2 and will meet with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud the following day.
Motegi told a press conference on Tuesday that it would be the first overseas since the inauguration of PM Suga’s new administration.
“It is important for the global community to have active mutual exchanges of high level officials resumed,” in order to battle the coronavirus pandemic, Motegi said.
In response to an Arab News Japan question, the FM said Japan continues to “firmly advance” efforts to reduce tensions in the Middle East.
“Japan depends on the Middle East for about 90 percent of crude oil imports,” he said. “The peace and stability of the Middle East countries continues to be extremely important for Japan.”
He noted that the Middle East is facing the spread of COVID-19 during an intense time, and stressed the complicated dynamics in the region.
Motegi added that even after the spread of COVID-19, he engaged in conferences with foreign ministers of different countries including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Israel, and Jordan.
“I have been talking on the phone with [their] foreign ministers. I have been trying to communicate about a variety of issues including the Middle East regional affairs, as well as measures against the virus,” he said.
The foreign minister is expected to talk with prince Faisal, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia and discuss the coronavirus aftermaths and Middle Eastern affairs. Motegi also wants to strengthen Japan’s ties with the Middle East.
The visit to Saudi Arabia, a major player in the region, aims to prepare for the G20 Summit in November “successfully held” under the presidency of Riyadh.