Japan–Qatar relations

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Japan – Qatar relations



Japan – Qatar relations are the bilateral relations between Japan and Qatar. Diplomatic relations were established in 1972. The two countries share strong economic ties, with Japan being Qatar's foremost trading partner, and Qatar ranking as Japan's sixth most significant import partner in 2016. Japan has an embassy in Doha.[1] Qatar also has an embassy Tokyo.[2]

Diplomatic visits[edit]

A sign for the under-construction Qatari Embassy in Tokyo, April 2018

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Qatar in August 2013. Oil and gas agreements and investment opportunities were discussed during the visit.[3]

In February 2015, Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani made an official visit to Japan. The purpose of the trip was to discuss ways in which to further strengthen bilateral ties.[4]

Political cooperation[edit]

Japan established the Japanese Parliamentary Association for Friendship with the State of Qatar in 2010 in an effort to improve bilateral relations.[5]

After ISIS militants in Syria kidnapped Japanese citizens Kenji Goto and Haruna Yakawa in Syria in 2014, Qatar attempted to negotiate their release, but ultimately failed.[6]

On 5 June 2017, a number of Arab states severed ties with Qatar over its alleged funding of terrorist groups and its purported ties with Iran. As a result of the crisis, shipping costs have increased, which has affected the status of regional trade conducted by Japanese companies.[7] Qatar, being the world's second-largest helium producer, provided Japan with roughly a quarter of its helium supply. However, after the crisis erupted, sanctions imposed on Qatar by its neighbors prevented its helium shipments from arriving in Japan.[8]

Following an official visit to Doha in September 2017 by Japanese FM Tarō Kōno, Japan's foreign ministry stated its willingness to help solve the dispute, and affirmed its support for Kuwaiti and American attempts at mediation.[9]

Economic relations[edit]

In 1996, Japan entered into an agreement with Qatar to import 6 million tonnes of LNG for the next 25 years.[10] Qatar's first LNG shipment to Japan arrived at the beginning of 1997, marking the first LNG export in Qatar's history.[11]

Japan accounted for 50.6% of all of Qatar's crude oil exports in 2004. During the same period, Japan was also Qatar's largest customer for LNG exports. Overall, Japan was Qatar's most significant trading partner in 2005, and accounted for around 40% of the value for all of Qatar's exports. Furthermore, Japanese products accounted for 11.6% of the value for all of Qatar's imports, representing the highest value among all of Qatar's trade partners.[12]

In April 2006, an economic agreement was signed between Qatar and Japan. Also that year, the inaugural meeting of the Japan-Qatar Joint Economic Committee took place.[13]

The Qatar-Japan Business Forum was held in Qatar in August 2013, during the visit by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.[14] There were an estimated 50 Japanese companies with offices in Qatar in 2015.[15] In 2015, when Qatar finalized the purchase of 24 fighter jets from France, Japanese banks agreed to lend Qatar $6.8 billion for a down payment.[16]

Japan was the main destination for Qatari LNG in 2016, importing 12.1 million tonnes. This provided Japan with roughly one-fifth of its annual LNG requirement. When several Arab nations severed ties with Qatar in June 2017, Japanese LNG buyers tried negotiating cheaper deals, which provoked Qatar to issue a warning that it may look elsewhere for buyers.[17]

Disaster aid[edit]

In the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani pledged $100 million in aid to Japan. In 2012, Qatar created the Qatar Friendship Fund (QFF) with the aim of spending the $100 million to help victims in the Tōhoku region. The economic impact of the fund could generate an estimated ¥180 billion for the ten years following its creation.[18]

Cultural relations[edit]

On Qatar and Japan's 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations, Qatar Museums, in collaboration with a number of Qatari ministries, launched the Qatar Japan 2012 Year of Culture. Events featuring traditional Japanese dance, music, theatre and anime were held in Qatar throughout the year.[19]

The Japanese Embassy in Doha is active in organizing cultural events in Qatar. In an attempt to showcase Japanese culture, the embassy launched Japan Week in November 2015.[20]


There are roughly 981 Japanese citizens living in Qatar as of February 2015.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Japanese Embassy in Doha, Qatar". embassypages.com. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  2. ^ "Qatari Embassy in Tokyo, Japan". embassypages.com. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  3. ^ "Abe's visit will further expand Qatar-Japan ties". Gulf Times. 31 August 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  4. ^ "Emir begins official visit to Japan". Gulf Times. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  5. ^ Amal Hasson (28 September 2010). "Japan Opens Parliamentary Association for Friendship with Qatar". Global Arab Network. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  6. ^ "Qatar tried to help free Japanese hostages". Japan Times. 22 February 2015. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  7. ^ Hidemitsu Kibe (28 June 2017). "Qatar row with Gulf states hits Japan businesses". Nikkei. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  8. ^ "Qatar dispute threatens Japan's helium supply". Nikkei. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  9. ^ "Japan keen to help solve Gulf crisis". The Peninsula. 10 September 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  10. ^ "Qatar ships first LNG to Japan, signs accord". Oil & Gas Journal. 30 December 1996. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  11. ^ Naji Abi-Aad (1998). "Natural Gas Reserves, Development & Production in Qatar" (PDF). Observatoire Méditerranéen de l'Energie. p. 2. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  12. ^ "Qatar Economic Review" (PDF). Qatar National Bank. September 2006. pp. 17, 34, 36. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  13. ^ Hisane Masaki (5 December 2006). "Qatar, Japan's White Knight". OhmyNews International. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  14. ^ Satyendra Pathak (29 August 2013). "Qatar-Japan Business Forum held with aim to boost ties". Qatar Tribune. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  15. ^ Sameh Saeid (1 March 2017). "Japan keen to expand ties with Qatar beyond energy". Qatar Tribune. Retrieved 11 September 2017. 
  16. ^ Pierre Tran (19 March 2016). "Japan-Qatar Ties Help Fund Rafale Order". Defense News. Retrieved 11 September 2017. 
  17. ^ Tsuyoshi Inajima and Emi Urabe (11 June 2017). "As Qatar Girds for Isolation, Gas Buyers Seek Better Deals". Bloomberg. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  18. ^ "Foundation created out of friendship and loyalty". Japan Times. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  19. ^ "Qatar Japan 2012". yearsofculture.qa. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  20. ^ "Japan Week at Pearl-Qatar restaurant". Qatar Tribune. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  21. ^ "Japan-Qatar Relations (Basic Data)". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 

External links[edit]