Japan keen to cooperate with Brunei’s economic diversification

February 13, 2018 Azamri Zainal

Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Taro Kano (L), speaking with his Bruneian counterpart, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Paduka Hj Erywan Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Hj Mohd Yusof on issues of bilateral interest and concern. Photo by Yusri Adanan

The Deputy Press Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Japan, Toshihide Ando shared that Japan looks forward to enhancing her economic relations with Brunei, and that Brunei’s energy sector and efforts towards economic diversification is a priority for Japan’s bilateral relations with the sultanate.

Chairing a press conference for the Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry in the Rizqun Hotel, the deputy press secretary noted that “Japan has been Brunei’s largest trading partner for many years, and Brunei exports 64 per cent of its LNG gas annually to Japan”.

During the press conference, the New Brunei Daily requested some clarity from the Japanese official on new developments for bilateral energy arrangements between Brunei and Japan.

Regarding developments of a hydrogen plant in Brunei, he said he would not touch into the matters of private companies from Japan specifically, but reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to enhancing bilateral relations by saying: “Japan is keen on continuing bilateral relations with Brunei, by pioneering cooperation for Brunei’s economic diversification.”

On Japanese electronic and hydrogen cars development linked to Brunei, Ando said: “As you know, Japan strongly supports the development of our electronic cars. We hope that our technology will enhance the use of electronic cars and hydrogen cars worldwide and introduce them officially to the world at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.”

Ando was visiting Brunei with the Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Taro Kano, who met with the Brunei’s Second Minister of Foreign Affair and Trade, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Paduka Hj Erywan Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Hj Mohd Yusof and the Second Minister of Defence, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (R) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Halbi Hj Mohd Yussof.

During the talks, Kono stressed the importance of Brunei’s cooperation in the “free and open Indo-Pacific” strategy being pursued by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

It was also understood that both ministers agreed on applying maximum pressure on North Korea, including implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

It was also shared by the Japanese deputy press secretary that Brunei’s second minister of foreign affairs and trade responded by mentioning that Brunei would deepen its understanding of the strategy by cooperating with Japan, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Under the strategy, Japan is seeking to ensure a rules-based order in a wide area stretching from East Asia to Africa in an apparent bid to counter China’s rising clout in the region.

Kano’s visit was the first by a Japanese foreign minister in five years. Brunei, a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is the body’s coordinating country for Japan.

New Brunei Daily