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Japan’s Abe arrives in Saudi at start of Mideast tour

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday on the first leg of a Middle East tour aimed at bolstering Japan’s presence in a region crucial for its energy needs.

Japan is increasingly concerned by potential threats to its energy supply. It has virtually no oil or gas reserves of its own and relies for more than 70 percent of its oil supply on the four Gulf states which Abe is due to visit.
Japan has also faced competition in the region from China, which is also keenly seeking resources to fuel its rapidly growing economy.

In February, President Hu Jintao toured resource-rich African nations, amid criticism in the West that China is overlooking human rights and graft concerns in its quest.

In its effort, Japan has tried increasingly to show that it has interests in the Middle East beyond oil.

Khaleej Times

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