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Ashraf Siddiqui
Qatar is one of the major powers in world diplomacy, said outgoing Ambassador of Japan HE Kazuo Sunaga.
In an exclusive interview, the envoy said that Japan and Qatar have been developing an excellent relationship which will last for many years to come, pointing out that in August, Foreign Minister of Japan Toshimitsu Motegi visited Doha and held first Strategic Dialogue with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
He expressed hope that these dialogues would be instrumental in further developing close bilateral relations between the two countries.
The outgoing Japanese envoy said that bilateral trade between the two countries exceeded $14 billion at the end of 2020, adding that Japan is the number one trade partner of Qatar and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) forms major part of the bilateral trade. Qatar is the number three crude oil supplier to Japan.
The envoy said that Japan is also importing helium gas and oil products, while Qatar mainly imports from Japan machinery, vehicles, railway and tramway.
Talking about his stay in Qatar, Sunaga said that two years as Japanese envoy, particularly in the pandemic situation, were not enough to know the country well.
He, however, said it has been a very fulfilling stay. He stressed that he was impressed by Qatar as an economic and political power.
On Qatar’s role on diplomatic and political front, Sunaga expressed satisfaction with the way Qatar has been playing its role as a facilitator and mediator on various regional and international conflicts, especially now as it is supporting the evacuation operations from Afghanistan. Prior to coming to Qatar, Ambassador Sunaga had served in France, Switzerland, the USA, the Philippines, the UAE and Indonesia.
Talking about FIFA World Cup 2022, he said Japan hosted the Tokyo Olympics 2020 in August 2021 under very difficult circumstances due to the pandemic.
H said, “The government of Japan is willing to share this experience with Qatar to support its efforts in holding the FIFA World Cup 2022. I personally hope that Qatar will host this event successfully and Japan will be a part of it.”
He thanked the leadership and the officials of Qatar for their support to him in carrying out his duties.
“I am very happy to end my 40-year-long diplomatic career in Qatar and to start my next phase of life post retirement in two months’ time back in my motherland,” he concluded.
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