Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday accelerated efforts to bolster relations with Middle Eastern countries, including Qatar, to secure a stable supply of fossil fuel to the resource-poor Asian nation from the energy domain.

In Doha, Kishida met with Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, after visiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for two days from Sunday to strengthen "resource diplomacy" with the Middle Eastern region, where China has recently increased its influence.

As the Middle East is strategically important for Japan, which relies on imports for over 90 percent of its energy needs, the Asian country has long attempted to maintain friendly ties with nations in the resource-rich area.

With global energy price moves becoming precarious since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Japan has grown more eager to implement necessary measures to procure crude oil and liquefied natural gas from the Middle East steadily, analysts said.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (R) and Qatar's emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani attend a welcoming ceremony in Doha on July 18, 2023, during Kishida's four-day trip to the Middle East. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Many countries in the Middle East, meanwhile, have been trying to reduce their oil dependency, given that the value of the fossil fuel might decrease in the future amid the global decarbonization trend.

By leveraging Japan's technology, Kishida promised at a press conference in Doha to take steps to facilitate the transformation of oil-producing states in the Middle East into a "hub" for exporting decarbonized energy and essential materials.

Apparently with Communist-led China in mind, Kishida also emphasized that he was able to reaffirm the significance of upholding the international order based on the rule of law with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar.

It was the first time a Japanese prime minister visited the Middle East in over three years. During that time, China boosted its influence there by taking actions such as brokering a deal to re-establish diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Kishida agreed Sunday with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to cooperate in sharing technology to aid in the decarbonization and economic diversification of the Middle Eastern nation while ensuring Japan's continued access to its oil.

The two leaders also confirmed that Japan and Saudi Arabia will launch a "strategic dialogue" at the foreign minister level to deepen bilateral collaboration in a meeting in Jeddah on the west coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

On Monday, Kishida and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan agreed to cooperate to promote green energy projects, decarbonize their economies, and jointly combat climate change in various spheres.

The leaders also pledged to work toward a successful 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which the UAE will host from November.

On Tuesday, Kishida visited Qatar, one of the world's largest providers of LNG, with Japan securing about 10 percent of its imports from the Middle Eastern country in the year through March 2022.

In Qatar's capital, the nation's leader and Kishida agreed that their countries will join hands to stabilize the energy market worldwide and enhance security cooperation through dialogue between their defense officials, according to the Japanese government.

In the summer of last year, Kishida had considered making his first trip to the Middle East since becoming prime minister in October 2021 but had to postpone the tour as he was infected with the novel coronavirus.

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