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His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President with Fumio Kishida, Japan Prime Minister, during an official reception, at Qasr Al Watan. Image Credit: Mohamed Al Hammadi / UAE Presidential Court

ABU DHABI: President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida today underscored the strength of UAE-Japan relations during a meeting in Abu Dhabi. Their discussions took place at Qasr Al Watan following an official reception ceremony to mark the start of Prime Minister Kishida’s official visit to the UAE.

The President welcomed the Prime Minister of Japan, expressing his confidence that the visit would consolidate the robust and longstanding partnership between the two nations and support their shared vision for a sustainable and prosperous future. He noted that bilateral relations with Japan date back to before the foundation of the UAE, and that last year the two sides celebrated the 50th anniversary of the official establishment of diplomatic ties.

Last year also saw the announcement of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the UAE and Japan, marking a significant development in bilateral relations. This agreement, the President remarked, was a milestone that heralded the start of the next 50 years of increasing collaboration, especially in the fields of the economy, trade, technology, energy, space, and education.


The two sides discussed a number of regional and international developments, with Sheikh Mohamed highlighting that the UAE and Japan share a common goal of supporting peace and stability through building bridges of cooperation and dialogue. He referenced both countries’ membership of the United Nations Security Council that works to enable further coordination to promote peace and the diplomatic resolution of conflicts worldwide.

He confirmed that the UAE is looking forward to Japan’s active participation at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai later this year, noting Japan’s longstanding role in advancing climate action, including its hosting of COP3 and being associated with one of the most significant protocols to combat climate change: the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Prime Minister Kishida thanked him for the warm welcome afforded to him and his delegation, and expressed his happiness to be visiting the UAE. He also conveyed to him the greetings of the Emperor of Japan.

The Prime Minister spoke of the deep, enduring bonds between the UAE and Japan and expressed his sincere wish to continue working with Sheikh Mohamed to further elevate these ties for the benefit of both nations and their people.

The Japanese Prime Minister wrote an entry in the VIP guestbook, expressing his hopes for further development in UAE-Japan relations in the future.

Following the meeting, a luncheon was held in honour of the visit of the Japanese Prime Minister and his accompanying delegation.

The meeting and the luncheon were attended by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court; Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi; Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Advisor for Special Affairs at the Ministry of Presidential Court; Ali bin Hammad Al Shamsi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for National Security; Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure; Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology; Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment; Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology; Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade; Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State; Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi, Minister of Investmen; Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority and member of Abu Dhabi Executive Council; and Jassim Mohammed Buataba Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Department of Finance and member of Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

Attending from the Japanese side were a number of senior officials, including Akio Isomata, Ambassador of Japan to the UAE.

Growth of foreign trade

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said the UAE and Japan enjoy strong and growing trade relations based on a long history of friendship and cooperation, aided by their leaderships’ support, which is reflected by mutual official visits, including the current official visit of Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan, to the UAE.

In a statement to WAM, Al Zeyoudi highlighted the growing non-oil bilateral trade between the two countries, valued at US$14.7 billion in 2022, a 10 percent increase compared to 2021.

Imports from Japan to the UAE amounted to US$12 billion in 2022, while non-oil Emirati exports to Japan totalled US$1.78 billion during the same period, and total re-exports from the UAE to Japan amounted to US$950 million last year, he added.

Al Zeyoudi noted that the UAE and Japan are continuing to boost their overall strategic cooperation, most notably in areas of trade, adding that Japan is among the top 10 global trading partners of the UAE.

He then highlighted the UAE’s role as Japan’s main trade partner among Arab nations, accounting for more than a third of Japan’s Arab trade. The two countries also have strong ties in investment, with Japan being a favoured destination for the UAE’s foreign direct investments, he added.

In 2022, the UAE invested US$268 million in Japan, focussing on three key sectors: healthcare, warehousing and storage, and financial services, he added, stressing that the UAE is keen to strengthen its role as a major hub for Japanese trade in the Middle East and Africa.

The non-oil trade between the UAE and Japan grew by 36 per cent over the past two years from 2020 to 2022, rising from Dh39.9 billion to Dh54.1 billion in 2022, according to data from the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre (FCSC).

This significant rise in non-oil trade reflects the strong partnership and economic cooperation between the two countries, driving their sustainable development towards further economic prosperity and growth sustainability.

Over the past ten years, from 2013 to 2022, the non-oil trade between the two countries increased from Dh53.9 billion to Dh54.1 billion, reaching a total of Dh524.4 over a decade.

In terms of foreign trade distribution between the two countries last year, re-exports totalled Dh3.4 billion, non-oil exports amounted to Dh6.5 billion, and imports reached Dh44.1 billion.

Cars topped the list of top five commodities re-exported to Japan in 2022, with a value of Dh1.3 billion, followed by car devices and supplies valued at Dh417 million, then pneumatic tyres valued at Dh274 million. Jewellery and ornaments amounted to Dh150 million, followed by precious metal scraps at Dh105 million.

In terms of exports, raw aluminium ranked first among the top five commodities exported to Japan, with a value of Dh3.9 billion, followed by mineral oils valued at Dh991 million, centrifugal filter devices at Dh613 million, copper valued at Dh404 million, and polypropylene polymers at Dh143 million.

Regarding the top five commodities imported from Japan in 2022, cars topped the list with a value of Dh20.08 billion, followed by car parts and accessories valued at Dh4.3 billion, iron at Dh1.3 billion, communication devices and equipment at Dh1.1 billion, and printing equipment at Dh1.07 billion.