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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 13:24 05/02/2007
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News Review #393: May 2, 2007

Japan PM in Kuwait on Third Leg of Mideast Tour


Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO


Article:
Japan PM in Kuwait on Third Leg of Mideast Tour
Kuwait Times (5/1/2007)
http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=Mzk5MDg5NDM0

Reference:
Abe Meets ASDF Unit at Kuwait Base
Japan Times (5/2/2007)
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070502a3.html

Comments:

On Monday Prime Minister Abe visited Kuwait on the third leg of his five nation tour in the Middle East, and the local newspaper, Kuwait Times, reports some details of his visit, including the fact that he was accompanied by a delegation of more than 150 businesspersons looking for further developments in Japan-Kuwait economic relations, presumably in oil-related fields. It is also reported locally as well as in the Japan Times article listed above that Mr. Abe met Japanese Air Self-Defense Force members in a Kuwaiti air base and thanked them for "performing difficult tasks" in an attempt to reconstruct Iraq despite deteriorating conditions in that country.

By reading these reports, some questions naturally arise. The first question is whether Japan and Kuwait, or any other nation in the Middle East for that matter, can reach economic agreements for mutual benefits, given the fact that Japanís interest in the region is predominantly crude oil and oil-related businesses, whereas Middle Eastern nations are eagerly awaiting Japanese investments in manufacturing and high-tech areas for their long-term economic development. Although Mr. Abe seems to be offering possible FTA and investment promotion arrangements to these countries, they could be no more than his lip service with little impact on Japanís oil-dominated relations with Middle Eastern nations.

The second question is whether the Japanese public is aware of the continued presence of the Air Self-Defense Forces, supporting "the U.N. and coalition forces" (mainly, the U.S. forces) by airlifting personnel and supplies, even after the Ground Self-Defense Forces left Samawah last July. Hopefully, Mr. Abeís meeting with the Air Self-Defense Force members will help the public realize and seriously discuss the issue of how much longer Japan should keep the presence of its Self-Defense Forces in the region.

Acknowledgment:
This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):
http://glocom.blog59.fc2.com/blog-date-20070502.html

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