TOKYO: Japan considers Egypt an important ally and would likely have Sudan on the agenda when the leaders of the two nations meet, according to Noriyuki Shikata, Japan’s cabinet secretary for public Affairs, who spoke to Arab News Japan on Friday, the day before Prime Minister Fumio Kishida heads to Cairo to meet with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
“I assume that given the situation in Sudan this issue could be taken up,” Shikata said. “We have sent our Self-Defense Forces to Djibouti and for us the situation in Sudan is very important.”
It is the first time in eight years that a Japanese prime minister will be visiting Egypt, which has established a close relationship with Japan.
“The prime minister attaches great importance to Japan’s relations with Egypt for two reasons,” Shikata explained. “No. 1, as you are aware, Japan has been promoting educational and cultural cooperation between Japan and Egypt.” Shikata pointed to the collaboration between Egypt’s University of Science and Japan’s University of Science and Technology, which he termed “symbolic.”
“Another example is the introduction of Japanese style education with a Japanese-style school,” he said. “It’s called EJS, Egypt Japan school. I understand that 2,500 Egyptian students will be sent to Japan.”
Japan has also been supporting Egypt’s museum — which the prime minister will visit during his day in Cairo — as well as an opera house in Egypt. It has also assisted in the development of the Cairo Metro. More importantly, Japan and Egypt are cooperating on political issues.
“We regard the peaceful and safe use of the oceans as our common agenda,” Shikata said.
“Japan wishes to develop a free and open Indo-Pacific with Egypt, strengthening the connectivity of the oceans and ensuring the safety of maritime traffic.”
“The second pillar is that we wish to collaborate with Egypt in maintaining a free and open international order based on the rule of law. Based on our viewpoint, the Russian invasion of Ukraine undermines this free and open international system. As a result, we are seeing food shortages and energy price hikes, and we understand the Egyptian people and others are suffering from this.
“So, we need to confirm the principles of the UN charter and, as Prime Minister Kishida has been saying, anywhere in the world there should not be any attempts to change the status quo by force.
“Kishida is looking forward to discussing this issue of the rule of law with President El-Sisi and how we can maintain a free and open international system.
“This will be a very important chance for Prime Minister Kishida to further deepen bilateral ties in the area of political and security cooperation, economic and business cooperation, including investments, and, as I mentioned, education, culture and sports.”