Japan wants to strengthen economic cooperation with the Arab Gulf states especially in the fields of oil and energy, Japanese foreign minister Yohei Kono was quoted as saying by the Gulf News daily.
The minister's remarks came during a meeting with Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani on boosting cooperation, said the paper.
The Japanese minister left Doha on Thursday, and arrived in the UAE for similar talks with Emirati officials, said the Emirati news agency (WAM).
Prior to his departure from Doha, a Japanese embassy spokesperson told Gulf News that Kono had "very fruitful talks" with Qatari officials, and that the two countries had signed a joint declaration "to accelerate consultations and co-operation in various fields."
According to the daily, Japan imports 407,000 barrels of oil a day from Qatar, meeting 9.3 percent of its petroleum needs.
Qatar also sells 5 million tons of natural gas to Japan per year.
In 1999, Qatar imported goods worth 933 million Qatari riyals from Japan, said the daily, adding that trade between Japan and the six Gulf states amounted to $32 billion.
Kono is scheduled to visit Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, said the paper -- Albawaba.com
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