(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) Senior Japanese government officials reiterated their country's determination to further the long-standing cooperation and economic relations with the UAE as a major pillar of the Asian economic giant's energy policy since 1967, four years before the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries 40 years ago.
For the past four decades, roughly 40% of all oil produced in the UAE has been exported to Japan, Koichiro Mastumoto, Principal Deputy Director, Second Middle East Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in an exclusive interview with WAM.
The big share, according to the Japanese official," demonstrates Japan's determination to import UAE's oil irrespective of international circumstances such as oil market fluctuations" and the oil price shock which followed the October 1973 war in the Middle East.
In return, the UAE has served as a gateway for 30% Japan's exports to the Middle East. and is also Japan's biggest market in the Middle East, according to Mastumoto who cited recent figures by Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
Japan remains the largest importer of UAE's crude oil which accounts for 23% of its total imports, up from 21% (between April-March 2010), after the 11 March 2011 major earthquake and Tsunami off the coast of Sendai, Japan, which resulted in an immediate shutdown of 12,000 MW of electric generating capacity at four nuclear power stations, according to recent figures released by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).
Japan recognized the United Arab Emirates immediately upon the creation of the UAE Federation on December 2 1971, four years after the establishment of economic relations when three Japanese oil companies entered an international tender by Abu Dhabi for concessions in its oilfields in 1967. Diplomatic relations between the UAE and Japan were established in May 1972.
Japan which took part in the construction of Dubai Metro is also interested in continuing to take part in other infrastructure projects in the UAE such as electricity, water and public transport", Mastumoto told WAM.
To further boost the Japanese-UAE relations, civil aviation authorities of the UAE and Japan in May 2012, decided to increase of the number of flights on Abu Dhabi/Dubai-Nartia route from 7 to 14 a week and to kick off the Abu Dhabi-Haneda route with 7 flights to 14, he added.
The number of passengers bound for Japan flying Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline more than doubled over the past three years, from 200000 in 2009 to 410000 in 2011, the official explained.