Japan Deepening Ties with Leading Oil Producer Saudi Arabia

Since Japan and Saudi Arabia established diplomatic relations in 1955, Japan has become one of the biggest importers of Saudi oil, with trade in 2010 exceeding $ 43 billion. Japanese direct investment in Saudi Arabia is now the third largest among nations’ foreign direct investment, a relationship that Japan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Shigeru Endo has characterized as “complimentarity,” the Saudi Gazette newspaper reported.

According to the U.S. government Energy Information Administration, Japan, with few domestic energy resources, is only 16 percent energy self-sufficient and is now the world’s third largest oil consumer in the world behind the United States and China and the globe’s third largest net importer of crude oil.

Endo said, “While the complementary relationship will remain unchanged into the future, room for expansion and diversification of the bilateral relations is now emerging. What we have to do is to find good seeds and plant them leaving the future generations to reap the harvest… Such relationship naturally goes beyond simple trade of energy and manufactured goods.”

Saudi Arabia remains Japan’s biggest oil supplier. According to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, in January Saudi Arabia supplied Japan with 34.28 million barrels, or 27.5 percent of Japan’s total imports 2011, with the United Arab Emirates providing 28.62 million barrels, or 23 percent of Japan’s crude imports, which means that more than half of Japan’s needs for crude oil came from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor