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RIYADH: The GCC-Japan ministerial meeting on Thursday in Riyadh — co-chaired by Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and his Omani counterpart Sayyid Badr Albusaidi — saw talks take place on free trade and various political and economic challenges.

Albusaidi, in his opening speech, said the GCC region was seeking to strengthen ties with Japan.

Hayashi said the GCC countries were becoming “increasingly important in the international arena,” including in politics and economics, with Japan also looking at ways to improve relations.

The ministers welcomed the formulation of the “Japan and the GCC Action Plan 2024-2028.”



Hayashi hoped that the GCC countries would continue to help stabilize the global crude oil market. He added that Japan supports the region’s efforts toward industrial diversification and decarbonization.

After Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to Saudi Arabia in July, Hayashi said the GCC and Japan agreed to resume negotiations on a free trade agreement to be completed by 2024. He said this was an “important achievement” and expressed hope that constructive discussions would follow.

Hayashi also explained Japan’s position on the discharge of treated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant. The ministers expressed their confidence in Japan’s commitment to international standards.

The ministers also discussed events in the Middle East, Ukraine and East Asia.

The ministers of the GCC explained that they were working to ensure stability in the region, and hoped that Japan would provide more assistance in this regard.

Hayashi explained Japan’s vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific region,” which he said means nations should seek cooperation rather than confrontation.

He added that the international community should send a message that it would not allow any nation to seek changes using force.

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