Highly evaluated Japan’s peaceful involvement -Japan’s relationship with the Persian Gulf countries 日本の平和的関与が評価される-日本のペルシア湾岸諸国との付き合い

「寺島実郎の世界を知る力」に出演している宮田律English Article
Translation / 翻訳


Highly evaluated Japan’s peaceful involvement -Japan’s relationship with the Persian Gulf countries

I appeared in TV program “The Power to Know the World of Jitsuro Terashima” on Tokyo MX TV Today. Finally, Mr. Terashima thinks that the influence of oil-producing countries in the Gulf will decline as the world moves toward de-oil energy, he gave me a question about how Japan should deal with the Gulf countries. It is a difficult question how to deal with a country whose influence is decreasing.  It will be difficult for the United States, which has become the world’s largest oil-producing country, to increase production as the world’s environmental awareness has taken root.

Given the energy production situation in the United States, Japan’s dependence on the Middle East will continue for the foreseeable future. The United States has significantly reduced its influence in the Middle East due to the failure of the war on terrorism such as the Iraq War. Unlike Western countries, Japan does not use military force in the Middle East and does not immediately flicker or impose sanctions, so there is confidence in Japan, which did not interfere with domestic affairs and never fought after World War II. In this way, I think Japan’s involvement in the Middle East should be peaceful and non-conflicting.

As Middle Eastern countries are energy-critical for Japan, Japan has pursued different policies from the United States regarding the Middle East, but they have not compromised Japan-US relations. Japan has explained to the United States that the Gulf energy is essential.

The United States has pursued strict policies against Iran, such as the Clinton administration taking a “Dual Containment policy” against Iran and Iraq in 1990s. Even though the United States took an Iran containment policy, Japan imported oil from Iran. For example, while the United States did not lift sanctions on Iran, it was fifth in 2011 with 9% of Japan’s total oil imports.


I think that the sentiment toward Japan in the Gulf countries, including Iran, has been favorable overall. Soft power such as Japanese anime and comics is popular in the Gulf countries, and the politeness of the Japanese has been evaluated in Saudi Arabia.

For example, on the Saudi Arabian television show “Khawatir (Improvement),” producer Ahmad Al Shugairi was surprised at the politeness of the Japanese as follows.

I’m surprised by the line of customers waiting for the opening time of the department store in Ginza, Tokyo. The discipline is so good that no one can enter even though the door is open.  There is no timetable at the bus stop in Saudi Arabia. When I contacted the Transportation Bureau, I was told that the bus would arrive at 9:30, but the bus actually arrived 30 minutes late. In Saudi Arabia, the time of worship is not delayed by even one second, but other times are delayed as a matter of course.

In Japan, people who walk their dogs take it home with their dog droppings in a bag, as is commonplace.

I’m also surprised that there is a plastic bag for an umbrella at the entrance of the building on a rainy day. In Saudi Arabia, you will enter the mosque soaked both when you enter the sacred mosque and after you have been cleansed. There is no trash in the park and people sit on the bench and pick up the dropped sweets and bring them home in Japan.

People waiting for public phones because mobile phones became unusable after the Great East Japan Earthquake

Mr. Shugairi sees the origin of Japanese humility in such a scene and states, “Is there such a nation would take arrogant attitude toward other countries’ people?”, I guess that such humility is also reflected in Japan’s diplomacy. There is always a debate about having to cooperate with the United States to dispatch the Self-Defense Forces every time an American war occurs, but rather than military cooperation with the United States, Japan should take peaceful policy and humble posture towards the Middle Eastern countries.















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