Courtesy Call on H.E. Foreign Minister Kishida by the Kuwait-Japan Parliamentary Friendship League

TOKYO, March 10 (KUNA) -- The visiting Kuwait-Japan Parliamentary Friendship League members led by MP Dr. Khalil Abdullah and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday affirmed their keenness on further expanding bilateral interactions and relations between the two countries.

At the outset of the meeting, while showing satisfaction with the tangible progress of Kuwait-Japan cooperative ties for more than 50 years, Kishida shed light on recent reciprocal visits of the Kuwaiti and Japanese leaders.

His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah paid a visit to Japan 2012 as a state guest, which was followed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's trip to Kuwait last year.

"I am delighted to see active exchange of visits not only at a government level but also at a parliamentary level, and your visit is very meaningful as it will further expand Kuwait-Japan ties," said Kishida. "The two countries have agreed to strengthen comprehensive bilateral partnership, and I expect the parliamentary exchanges will continue to help reinforce our relationship." Noting that the Japanese government will hold a memorial service to commemorate the third anniversary of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake on Tuesday, which the Kuwaiti lawmakers are invited to attend, the minister conveyed Japan's appreciation for Kuwait for the fullest support in solidarity with Japan after the earthquake-tsunami catastrophe. "Support from Kuwait has been clearly carved into the hearts of the Japanese people," said Kishida.

Following the twin disasters, Kuwait donated 5 million barrels of crude oil to Japan, equivalent to some USD 500 million, to support its reconstruction work. In addition, Kuwait contributed USD 3 million to the heavily-damaged marine science museum called Aquamarine Fukushima and USD 2 million to Japan Red Cross Society for the reconstruction projects such as the procurement of new railway coaches, the inauguration of a children's care center in the affected areas.

Speaking to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) and Kuwait TV after the meeting, MP Adnan Abdulsamad said the two sides discussed ways how the two parliaments can contribute to the development of the bilateral cooperative partnership.

In this regard, Kishida affirmed the importance of the early entry into force of the bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement, which was signed in March 2012, adding that Japan's parliament has already endorsed the pact.

The Kuwaiti side acknowledged that Kuwait's offset program has been a major obstacle preventing investment by Japanese companies in Kuwait, according to Abdulsamad. The Japanese government and companies have repeatedly expressed hope for the abolishment of the offset program to ensure a better business environment for Japanese companies in the Gulf country.

At the meeting, which was also attended by Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan Abdulrahman Al-Otaibi, the Kuwaiti side commended historic stances that Japan took since the independence of Kuwait in 1961 and its role in the wake of the 1990-1991 Gulf War. The parliamentary delegation includes MP Faisal Al-Dowaisan and Majed Al-Mutairi. Earlier in the day, the Kuwaiti parliamentarians inspected the Cancer Institute Hospital of Japan and observed a parliamentary session.

The delegation is scheduled to make inspections of transport facilities and a wind power station during their stay. Dr. Abdullah said to KUNA and Kuwait TV, "The Kuwaiti delegation is keen on making the current visit produce practical outcomes that will benefit both countries. Therefore, we are visiting those facilities to get familiar with Japan's expertise and experience, share information and explore ways of mutual cooperation to implement joint projects. As for the cancer institute, we are interested in sending patients to Japan and conduct joint research in the future," head of the Kuwaiti delegation said. (end)
By Miyoko Ishigam