Japan is eyeing joint exploration with Qatar to produce hydrogen, a source of clean energy, ambassador Seiichi Otsuka has said.
“Qatar has a huge potential for producing hydrogen at the most competitive price,” the envoy stressed during the 85th birthday celebration of the Emperor of Japan, Akihito, at a reception in Doha on Monday.
The event was attended by HE the Minister of Justice and Acting Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Dr Issa Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) secretary general Dr Ahmad Hassan al-Hammadi, Protocol Department director Ibrahim Yousif Fakhro, the Diplomatic Corps deputy dean and Palestinian ambassador Mounir Abdallah Gannam, as well as other diplomats and other dignitaries.
The Japanese embassy in Doha marked the 85th birthday celebration of the Emperor of Japan, Akihito on Monday.
Otsuka highlighted the strong bilateral relations between Qatar and Japan in various fields of co-operation at the event, which was attended by Qatar government officials, diplomats and other dignitaries.
“The Japanese engagement in the energy industry of Qatar traces back to 1971 when Bundoq Oil Field started operating, and crude oil was exported to Japan,” Otsuka noted.
Marubeni joined Qatargas in 1985 and partnerships with various Japanese companies such as Mitsui Co, Chubu Electric Power Co and Chiyoda, continued until this year, with Qatar further expanding its production capacity to 110mn tonnes of LNG annually.
The envoy added that Japan (13.1%) remains to be a top importer of Qatar’s LNG in Asia in 2017, along with Korea (15.2%), India (13.1%), China (9.9%), Taiwan (6.7%), Pakistan (5%), Thailand (3.1%) and Singapore (1.2%).
As Japan advocates ‘The Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’, Otsuka noted that no disruption and shortage of supply happened since the first delivery in early 1997 “as far as the Japanese import from Qatari LNG is concerned.”
“It was carried out based on the firm commitment and mutual confidence between the two countries,” he said.
In the non-energy sector, the envoy noted that Japanese Kobe Steel Company (Kobelco), together with the Government of Qatar, built Qasco (currently Qatar Steel Company) to produce direct reduced Iron from 1975.
“This is the first direct investment project of Japan to Qatar,” Otsuka said. “Since then these business engagements contribute to fostering confidence building between the two countries.”
According to latest annual statistics in 2017, he noted that Japan is still the number one destination of Qatar’s commodity export.
“It is the pleasure to us to see that the Japanese private sector is deeply committed to the construction of the LNG terminals expansion project,” Otsuka added. “Also the Japanese private sector contributes to vital infrastructure projects, especially those related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.”
According to the envoy, some of these mega projects include the Ras Abu Fontas Desalination Plant, Doha Metro phase 1, sewage treatment expansion (Doha West), and Hamad International Airport.
He said future infrastructure projects in Qatar which Japanese companies have interests include first large-scale solar power plant, independent water and power facility, and waste to energy.
Otsuka also announced the hosting of Expo 2025 in Osaka City, Kansai district of Japan, and the G20 Summit in June 2019.
“As the chair country of the meeting, the Japanese Government intends to lead the discussions about issues facing the international community, including the state of the global economy and environmental issues,” he stressed.
“Soon after, in August (2019), Japan will host the seventh round of Tokyo International Conference on African Development with participation of several heads of 54 African countries. We continue to seek for development strategy of Africa,” the envoy added.
Next year, the Rugby World Cup will held in Japan, and in 2020, Tokyo will be hosting both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“Sport energises citizens and the metropolis. We wish we can contribute to the world peace by inspiring people with one accord through these games,” Otsuka added.