Quake-hit Japan thanks Kuwait''s Amir upon arrival of oil aid

The disaster-hit Japan on Wednesday welcomed an arrival of the first batch of oil aid from Kuwait in a huge ceremony and pledged its early recovery in response to the generous donation. Marking the delivery of Kuwaiti crude at JX Nippon Oil Energy Corporation's 340,000-barrel-a-day Negishi refinery in Yokohama, eastern Japan, Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano expressed gratitude to H.H. the Kuwaiti Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the Kuwaiti people for the fullest support in solidarity with Japan, whose northeastern region was hit by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that left nearly 21,000 people dead or missing. Kuwait's contribution of five million barrels of crude oil, provided through Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), was decided in April upon directives of H.H. the Amir in order to help the country recover from the March 11 catastrophe. The donation is equivalent to some USD 500 million and surpasses Japan's daily consumption of 4.4 million barrels. "Kuwait has responded promptly and sincerely to our crisis soon after the disaster, with H.H. the Amir and a number of Kuwaiti dignitaries dispatching letters and messages of sympathy. Kuwaiti friends came forward to assist Japan with true sentiments of solidarity and humanity. The Japanese people will never forget the warm encouragements and sympathy given by the Kuwaiti leaders and people," Edano said. "I was also deeply impressed that your people still remember our support to your country during the Iraqi invasion about 20 years ago, and come to help us this time." He noted that the donation was made at a time when the two countries celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties this year, adding that the aid from Kuwait has promoted a feeling of amity between the two peoples and boosted the development of bilateral relations. KPC's CEO Farouk Al-Zanki extended, on his part, his heartfelt condolences to those bereaved and sincere sympathy to all affected by this catastrophe and to their families and friends. He also said in a speech that Kuwait has close and old ties with Japan dating back to decades ago, where Arabian Oil Company was the first Japanese company to perform oil exploration 60 years ago. "Since then, the Japanese-Kuwaiti cooperation has persisted and flourished until it reached current level. Today, we see Japan recovering its production after the disaster, which is an achievement that demonstrates the admirable productivity nature of Japanese people," Al-Zanki said. He also stressed that Kuwait will continue supplies of oil and petroleum products to Japan. For his part, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan Abdulrahman Al-Otaibi said "Kuwait always offers supports for other countries, as God blessed us and gave us the wealth of oil. It does not matter the type or amount of the oil grant. The most important thing is my country's solidarity with friendly Japan and its people." The ambassador also showed confidence that Japan will rebuild the nation soon, as it proved the ability to bounce back from the devastation in the World War II and has become a global leader of economy and technology. The ceremony was also attended by Japanese Red Cross President Tadateru Konoe, a number of Japanese government officials, representatives from the three hardest-affected areas, as well as KPC's high level delegation including International Marketing Managing Director Nassir Al-Mudhaf and Finance and Administration Affairs Managing Director Ali Al-Hajeri. The donated oil will be delivered to four Japanese refiners by the end of this year, and money to the value of the free oil will be provided to the quake victims through the Japan Red Cross.