TOKYO: The Qatari ambassador to Japan, Hassan Rafei Al-Emadi, hosted a gala reception to celebrate the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between his country and Japan. About 250 guests, including Japanese officials, business leaders, and diplomats, attended the event held on March 29 at a Tokyo hotel.
Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani gave the opening remarks aired via a video message hailing the two countries’ bilateral relations’ “that have witnessed a great leap and have moved from the stage of friendship and cooperation to a comprehensive strategic partnership.”
“We in Qatar attach great importance to our relationship with Japan, which is one of our most important partners in the energy, trade, investment, development and other areas of cooperation supported by legal frameworks and agreements that guarantee mutual benefits for both countries and friendly peoples,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said.
The Qatari minister also confirmed relations with Japan stand solid against the challenges. “The successive developments in today’s world cast a shadow on global security and peace. To stabilize energy markets and protect transportation, the partnership between Qatar and Japan stands as a model for developing international multilateral action for a peaceful solution to conflicts, he said. “Such action will guarantee the preservation of Qatar and Japan’s security and economic gains and the achievement of global prosperity.”
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani invited Japanese people to visit Qatar in November this year to attend the 2022 World Cup, enjoy the games and “learn about Arab-Islamic culture.
Meanwhile, Japanese foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi pledged to strengthen bilateral cooperation in various fields, including energy. Hayashi described Qatar as “one of Japan’s most trusted suppliers of LNG.” He also expressed gratitude to Qatar and Qatar Airways for supporting the travel and evacuation of Japanese citizens from Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Ambassador Al-Emadi said economic cooperation between the two countries is the backbone of their comprehensive strategic partnership. He said Japan is an important trading partner for Qatar, and Japanese companies were Qatar’s first LNG export customers.
Ambassador Al-Emadi highlighted the “milestones of bilateral relations.” The first shipments of Qatari LNG to Japan began in 1996, the launch of direct flights by Qatar Airways to Japan started in 2005, opening a Japanese school in Doha in 2009, and inauguring the Qatar Chair for Islamic Area Studies at Waseda University in Tokyo last year. Further, bilateral dialogue and consultation have continued as Doha hosted the foreign ministers’ first round of strategic dialogue last year.
Toshihiro Nikai, a member of the House of Representatives and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and Chairman of the Japan Qatar Parliamentary Friendship League, also offered greetings. Nikai said he was directly involved in strengthening cooperation in the energy sector, opening the Japanese School in Doha in 2009 at the suggestion of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, then the Emir of Qatar, and the inauguration of Qatar Airways direct flights to Japan.
The embassy displayed historical and recent photos and videos covering 50 years of bilateral relations at the event. Japanese musicians played Arabic music, and Arabic food was served. Qatar Airways provided a free airline ticket to a lottery winner.