Historic Bahrain-Japan ties in spotlight
Manama, August 24, 2013
Historic Bahrain-Japan relations will be in the spotlight as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe begins a landmark visit to the kingdom today, a report said.
The two-day visit comes in response to an invitation by HRH Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, according to the report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
The two sides will discuss ways to strengthen relations and sign several agreements in the fields of economy and trade aimed at building bridges of friendship and co-operation.
Abe's visit reflects the monumental growth that Bahrain-Japan relations have witnessed in all fields and emphasises the leaderships' keenness to further develop and open up new areas of co-operation, given the agreements signed by the two sides and their excellent diplomatic relations dating back more than 40 years.
The countries have always co-ordinated and shared views on regional and international issues. The visit coincides with regional and international challenges that require greater co-ordination between the nations in light of their shared vision on the importance of strengthening international efforts to enhance global peace and security.
Abe's visit paves the way for both sides to benefit from each other's expertise and advantages. While Japan is a giant, economically, industrially and scientifically, Bahrain is a distinguished regional centre in finance and banking and occupies a top spot in human development reports in the region - in addition to being the gateway to the Gulf.
The Prime Minister last week received Japanese Ambassador Shiguki Sumi and expressed confidence Mr Abe's visit will bolster bilateral relations.
Bahrain-Japan ties date back to 1934 when the first shipment of oil was sent to Japan. Relations have passed through many significant milestones, most notably when the Japanese government recognised Bahrain after its independence in 1971. While the Japanese Embassy was established in Bahrain in 1988, the Economic Development Board's office was inaugurated in Japan. Bahrain's Embassy opened in Tokyo in 2005.
Abe's visit follows the historic visit of His Majesty King Hamad to Japan in April last year, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations, and the visit of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, in March during which several agreements were signed.
Tokyo hosted "the Bahrain Exhibition" in October 2008, which included a presentation on the government's focus on developmental issues aimed at raising living standards. Bahrain's commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and its progress in various fields were also showcased.
Bahrain has received many trade delegations from Japan. The countries have signed several co-operation agreements.
Twenty-five Japanese companies are based in Bahrain and run their businesses in industry, financial services, manufacturing, IT, automotive and logistics taking advantage of Bahrain's open economic and investment environment. Volume of trade between Bahrain and Japan reached $3.7 billion in 2011 and non-oil trade amounted to $610 million. Bahraini imports from Japan amounted to $587 million in 2012. – TradeArabia News Service