Kuwait, Japan to cooperate in renewable energy, environment

Kuwait and Japan agreed Wednesday to scale up cooperation in the fields of renewable energy and energy conservation, according to a joint statement signed by the two countries.
The agreement was reached during the first Japanese-Kuwaiti Joint Committee, a ministerial-level meeting co-chaired by Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and Parliamentary Secretary for Economy, Trade and Industry Chiaki Takahashi.
The two sides also confirmed their shared desire to conclude a free trade agreement (FTA) between Japan and the Gulf Cooperation Council members (GCC) at an early date and to exert mutual efforts to that end. The GCC groups Kuwait, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman, with Kuwait currently holding its rotating presidency.
The two sides also renewed commitment to accelerate negotiations on an agreement on the promotion and mutual protection of investments. The talks were launched in April in Tokyo. They also agreed to enhance cooperation in the areas of atomic energy, water and medical tourism.
At the outset of the meeting, Sheikh Dr. Mohammad underlined significance of the committee and welcomed the holding of the first meeting ahead of the golden jubilee of Kuwait-Japan diplomatic relations, to fall in 2011. The two countries established diplomatic relations on December 8, 1961, he said.
"The Committee was set up during the visit to Japan by HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in July 2008, which led to further strengthening of bilateral relations," he said.
He also pointed out fruitful outcomes of the visits to Japan by HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in his former capacity as prime minister in 2004 and to Kuwait by Japanese former premier Shinzo Abe in 2007. He also thanked Japan for its significant role in Kuwait's liberation from Iraqi occupation.
On his part, Katsuya also welcomed the first round of talks, expressing hope that the committee will contribute to building a multi-layered partnership between Kuwait and Japan.
The Kuwaiti side in the meeting was represented by Mohammad Al-Mijren Al-Roumi, Director of the Foreign Ministry's Asia Department, as well as officials from the Ministry of Commerce, Environment Public Authority, Ministry of Oil, Kuwait Investment Authority, Public Authority for Industry, the Ministry of Higher Education and National Council for Culture, Arts and Letter.
Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan Abdulrahman Al-Oteibi and Japanese Ambassador to Kuwait Masatoshi Muto also attended the talks.