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TOKYO: Japanese and Arab League officials are holding talks here to forge new economic partnerships and strengthen existing agreements in sectors including energy and health.

The 5th Japan-Arab Economic Forum began in Tokyo on Tuesday and will end on July 11. Previous meetings of the forum were held in 2009, 2013, 2010 and 2016.

On Wednesday, the officials attended a “Public-Private Economic Conference” attended by Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ken Saito.

Opening remarks were delivered by Nobuyuki Nakajima, Executive Director of the Japan External Trade Organization, or JETRO, based in Dubai.

Saito said, “The world is now at a turning point. In addition to the increasing complexity of the international situation, Japan and the Arab countries are important partners based on historical friendly relations with global problems such as deoxygenation, energy, water and poverty.

“Now is the time for us to use our strengths to address these global challenges.”

He said Japan’s goal is to achieve growth in Japan and the Arab world by solving social problems and strengthening new partnerships.

“The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has secured a budget of $1 billion to develop a flagship project that symbolizes cooperation with countries in the Global South,” he said.

“Specific projects such as decarbonization, digital and healthcare have already started working. The purpose of the Japan-Arab Economic Forum is to achieve peace, stability and prosperity between Japan and the Arab countries through cooperation in a wide range of fields.

Other participants were Dr. Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Maliki, Head of the Economic Affairs Sector of the League of Arab States, Dr. Saleh A. Al-Kharabsheh from the Jordanian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and Dr. Khaled Hanafi, Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers.

In the following session, “Expanding Mutual Investment”, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the League of Arab States, delivered the keynote address.

The meeting was attended by Kazushige Tanaka, Deputy Director General for Trade and Economic Cooperation from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and Wissam Hassan Fattouh, Secretary General of the Arab Banks Union.

The early afternoon session focused on climate change, which included discussions on green products, water, waste management, hydrogen and ammonia.

Among the participants were Ibrahim Al-Dakhiri, Director General of the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development, and Dr. Salem Hamidi, Director General of the Arab Atomic Energy Authority.

At a later meeting on new technologies, Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghaffar Ismail, President of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, and Dr. Walid El-Hennawy, Assistant Secretary General of the Arab Tourism Organization.

The day’s meetings ended with closing remarks by JETRO Chairman Norihiko Ishigura.

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