Sustainable global growth and stability were on the top of the agenda when President Sheikh Mohamed welcomed Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Sheikh Mohamed said the two nations share a deep and historic bond and would continue to explore ways to further strengthen that partnership.
Mr Kishida was in the UAE on an official visit accompanied by a delegation of senior government officials.
Sheikh Mohamed said the signing in September of a comprehensive partnership between the Emirates and Japan was a milestone that heralded the start of the next 50 years of increasing collaboration, especially in the fields of the economy, trade, technology, energy, space and education.
“I was pleased to welcome Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to the UAE,” Sheikh Mohamed said, writing on Twitter.
“Our two countries enjoy a deep and historic bond and today we explored ways to further strengthen our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and support sustainable global growth and stability.”
The leaders discussed several regional and international developments.
The UAE and Japan have signed 23 agreements and memorandums of understanding during the UAE-Japan Business Forum, which was held today.
The agreements aim to bolster economic, trade and investment ties between the two countries in the fields of energy, industry, advanced technology, artificial intelligence, space, health, transport, environmental conservation and circular economy.
Sheikh Mohamed, referring to both countries' membership of the UN Security Council, said the UAE and Japan shared a common goal of supporting peace and stability through building bridges of co-operation and dialogue.
He said the UAE was looking forward to Japan’s participation at the Cop28 climate conference in Dubai later this year.
The President noted Japan’s long-standing role in advancing climate action, including its hosting of Cop3 and its association with one of the most significant protocols to combat climate change, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
Mr Kishida thanked the UAE for the warm welcome and conveyed the greetings of Emperor Naruhito to Sheikh Mohamed.
The Prime Minister spoke of the deep, enduring bonds between the UAE and Japan and expressed his sincere wish to continue working with Sheikh Mohamed to further elevate these ties.
Earlier, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Cop28 President-designate, greeted Mr Kishida and his accompanying delegation at the Presidential Airport in Abu Dhabi.
Mr Kishida's trip was his first to the Emirates as Prime Minister and part of a Gulf tour that began with a visit to Jeddah on Sunday. He will head to Doha after the UAE on Tuesday morning.
Japan was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the Emirates in 1972.
Ties between the countries continue to strengthen, Mr Kishida was quoted by UAE news agency Wam as saying.
“The UAE has the largest number, in the Middle East and Africa, of Japanese expatriates [approximately 4,500] and Japanese companies [approximately 340],” he said, writing in an opinion piece.
“The UAE’s role and importance as a hub of, and gateway to, the region is growing every year.
“At the same time, co-operation between Japan and the UAE has expanded far beyond traditional areas such as energy and economy, to include a wide range of fields such as climate change, education, science and technology, outer space and defence.”
The Emirates is also Japan's seventh-largest trading partner globally and one of its main suppliers of oil over the past half-century, meeting 20 per cent of the Asian country's oil needs.
In 2022, trade between the UAE and Japan rose by 57.5 per cent to exceed Dh200 billion ($54.4 billion), from Dh127 billion in the previous year.
Mr Kishida said the bilateral relationship was also expanding in the field of space co-operation.
“Japan has contributed to the UAE's space policy for many years. The launch of the UAE's first domestically manufactured satellite KhalifaSat in 2018 and the Mars Exploration Hope Probe in 2020 were both carried out by Japanese H2-A rockets,” he said.
“The launch of the UAE’s lunar probe Rashid Rover this April, operated in collaboration with Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and Japanese space start-up company ispace was a significant step forward as the world’s first attempt by a private company to land a Moon-surface rover.
“I am confident that future-oriented efforts such as this will lead to greater success in the near future. Japan is determined to continue its support for further collaboration in the space field.”
The historic visit was also marked by Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi who shared a picture on Twitter of Tokyo from the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday.
Dr Al Jaber met Mr Kishida in April, before the G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministerial meeting.
Their meeting focused on climate action and co-operation in the run-up to the Cop28 climate summit that takes place this year in Dubai's Expo City.
Mr Kishida said “the UAE works responsibly to ensure global energy security and makes proactive efforts to address climate change issues”.
“Japan will work closely with the UAE towards the success of Cop28,” he said.