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Noboru Sekiguchi Consul General of Japan in Dubai and the Northern Emirates
Noboru Sekiguchi Consul General of Japan in Dubai and the Northern Emirates

Published: Sun 12 Dec 2021, 10:44 AM

On this Japan Day, Noboru Sekiguchi, Consul General of Japan in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, outlines the aspects of the vital partnership between the two nations

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To begin with, I would like to express my warmest congratulations on the 50th anniversary of the UAE’s foundation. Japan and the UAE have been fostering a strong and friendly relations for the past 50 years since Japan recognised the independence of the UAE in December 1971. There is a testament to have fruitful relationships between our two countries when we focus on the Expo that has currently been held in Dubai. The baton of the Expo host will be taken by the city of Osaka in Japan from Dubai to host the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai.

The relations between our two nations has been traditionally highlighted by the cooperation in the energy field. Twelve areas of cooperation, however, including not only such traditional ones as energy and business but also such new ones as advanced technologies and women’s empowerment, have been identified in the ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnerships Initiative (CSPI)’ which was announced as a new cooperation framework of our two countries on the occasion of the visit by Shinzo Abe, the then Prime Minister of Japan, to the UAE in 2018. I would like to take up the field of space activities, as an example of the expanding bilateral cooperations. It is unforgettable that the UAE’s Hope Probe reached the Mars Orbit and made the people in the UAE excited in this February. This was the one of the contributions by Japan under the CSPI framework to the UAE’s space explorations.

The numbers of Japanese people who live in the UAE reflects the recent multi-layered relations in the various fields between the two countries. More than 3,000 Japanese are living in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, while Abu Dhabi covers 1,000 people, which are forming the largest Japanese community in the MENA region. It is also worth mentioning that more than 300 Japanese companies are operating in Dubai. I can point out, behind these, the existences of not only the friendly relations between our two nations, but also the well-established environment for living and business operation in the UAE. The UAE offers the safe-cities and the well-developed economic infrastructure, which supports business activities, such as logistical networks, financial system, and economic laws and regulations. These have been attracting Japanese people and companies to the UAE, and that has been contributing to further expansion of the Japanese community and leads to strengthening of ties between Japan and the UAE.

Enhanced Cooperation in 50 years

Japan and the UAE will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationships in the next year of 2022. As the Consul General of Japan in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, I would like to be active with various initiatives in a wide range of areas in that memorial year. The initiatives will focus on promoting cooperations in the business field which contributes to the further growth of the UAE economy and in the food industry to contribute to the UAE’s food security, as well as exchanges among young people who will lead the next generation of the Japan-UAE relations. These will contribute deepening mutual understandings and recognitions, and making our relationships more multilayered and multifaceted towards the next 50 years.

In the business area, I believe that Japan will be able to contribute to the UAE economy through Japanese start-up companies that can propose various solutions for the UAE. I realized at Dubai Design Week and the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival on the other days that the UAE has well-prepared environment to attract start-ups by providing incentives and a system to support activities by started-ups including matching SMEs with investors. In Japan, however, many start-ups are still looking only at its domestic market. I would like to bring the Japanese start-ups to the UAE and encourage them to pursue their global business opportunities through envisioning the markets not only in the UAE and MENA region but also in the world at large.

While the UAE shows strong interest in their own food security, Japan has a variety of technologies related to this area such as technologies for agricultural production, cultivation, food processing, and food distribution. I would like to explore opportunities to promote introduction of such food related technologies from Japan into the UAE. In addition to that, I would also like to introduce to the UAE high quality and delicious Japanese ingredients and food products, as well as Japanese chefs who have high skills in various genres not limited to Japanese cuisine.I would also like to facilitate the further exchange between the youth of Japan and the UAE who will lead the next generation of our two countries. I have strong interest in e-sports and e-games as platforms for the exchanging. Although this area is quite new to the relationships of our two nations, the UAE Olympic Committee has recently recognised e-sports as an official sport, and this proves the growing popularity of e-sports in the UAE. I believe that e-sports and e-games have a great potential to promote interaction between young people.

Looking towards Expo 2025 Osaka

I would like to commend the successful hosting of Expo 2020 Dubai, which is the very first Expo in the Arab World at the time of the Golden Jubilee of the founding of the UAE. The baton of the Expo-host will be handed over to the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai. The city of Osaka will host the Expo again after 55 years from the Osaka Expo in 1970, where Abu Dhabi participated for the first time, one year before the founding of the UAE. Today, when this Japan Special Report is published, ‘Japan Day’ will be held at the Dubai Expo as Japanese National Day. The Japan Day is an important event to convey the charms of Japan as a nation and of each prefecture of Japan from Dubai to the world, as well as to connect Dubai Expo to Osaka, the next Expo-host city.

Under the theme of ‘Designing Future Society For Our Lives’, the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai aims to become a laboratory where the world’s knowledge will be brought together and shared to create new ideas and solutions for global challenges. The Japan Pavilion at the Dubai Expo promotes the Osaka-Kansai Expo by sending messages related to the said theme of the next Expo with utilizing Japanese cutting-edge technologies. Various innovative ideas and solutions showcased by each participating country at Expo 2020 Dubai give us a lot of learning toward Osaka. We would like to take over this momentum of social changes with creativity that have emerged in Dubai to lead the success of the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai.

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