Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will begin a 10-day trip to the Middle East today.
During the trip, Motegi will visit Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Turkey and Qatar. Japan has a vested economic interest in the Middle East given the nation’s dependence on the region for its energy needs with 90% of Japan’s crude oil imported from the Middle East. Japan has enjoyed strong working relationships with many countries in the region and is expected to discuss issues surrounding regional security and the COVID-19 pandemic. Iran and Israel in particular have experienced leadership changes and Motegi is intent on cooperating with the two new administrations to promote regional stability.
Expect Motegi to take on a role as a mediator between countries as he seeks to maintain Japan’s primary foreign policy for the Middle East of peace and stability. Specifically, Motegi will be intent on cooling recent tensions between Iran, Palestine and Israel by employing a neutral perspective on the major points of contention between the countries. In the long-term, Japan will likely continue to focus on not taking the side of one country in the region over another as to maintain its strong economic partnerships with the region.
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Keegan is an analyst on the Current Developments team. Contributing regularly to the Daily Brief, he focuses on on East Asian affairs.