I have been staying in Saudi Arabia since I left Tokyo on August 27. The main purpose of my visit is to share our experience and knowledge on hosting G20 Summit with H.E. Eng. Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadhli, Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture. Japan hosted the 2019 Osaka G20 Summit as presidency, and Saudi Arabia will host the G20 Summit next year. It was a long flight from Tokyo to Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia. We changed planes at Dubai.
I exchanged views with the Minister concerning various environmental issues including measures to cope with waste disposal, marine plastic pollution, and the role of a host country of G20 Summit as presidency. Since the Minister used to be engaged in business, our discussion was extended to trade and economy, and we had a fruitful meeting.
Subsequently after the meeting finished, I left Jeddah for Riyadh by airplane to attend a party held at the official residence of the Japanese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in the evening. At the party I exchanged greetings with representatives of the Japanese Association.
Saudi Arabia is a country with a great presence in the Middle East. While I have long been involved in Japan’s trade and diplomatic relations with this country since I was a young official in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), this visit to the country made me reaffirm its strategic importance in the Middle East.
Japanese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mr. Tsukasa Uemura and others who attended the party regard Saudi Arabia as a hub of the Middle East where the world’s various politics, diplomacy, and economy interact with each other, and therefore it is important for us to pay attention to this country’s political management, the liberalization of the Kingdom and its social system, and the Muslim movement. I have learned a lot from their insights.