TOKYO: Japan’s new Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi reiterated the importance of oil imports from the Middle East at his inaugural press conference in Tokyo on Thursday.
In reply to a question from Arab News Japan, Hayashi said: “As Japan now relies for about 90% of its crude oil imports from the Middle East, the peace and stability in the Middle East, particularly from the standpoint of energy security, is very important. I believe that a stable supply of oil from the Middle East is indispensable not only for Japan, but also for the stability and economic growth of the world economy, including Japan.”
Hayashi addressed the problem of volatile political situations in some countries. “In the Middle East region, the situation in Afghanistan, the situation in Israel and Palestine, and other unstable tensions are continuing, as well as negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal.”
Hayashi also touched on the recent rise in crude oil prices. “We are working with related ministries and agencies to work with the relevant international organizations to increase production in oil-producing countries, including the Middle East, in order to stabilize the energy market.”
Hayashi was appointed foreign minister by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and took over the post on Wednesday after a confirmation vote in Japan’s parliament.
In keeping with Japan’s policy, Hayashi stressed the importance of Japan’s alliance with the United States, adding, “At the same time, we are building good relations with the countries of the Middle East. Taking advantage of this environment, we intend to make strong diplomatic efforts, including alleviating tensions in the Middle East, stabilizing the situation, and working with related countries at various levels.”