According to one of Japan’s leading business thinkers, cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Japan in energy could help solve some of the most intractable problems the world faces today. Nobuo Tanaka, chairman of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and former director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), feels that the two countries could help stabilize global energy markets, and also defuse the controversy over nuclear proliferation – two of the big issues facing the region and the world today.
Japan is the fourth-biggest importer of oil in the world, and the Kingdom is its main supplier, shipping around 40 percent of its total requirement. Tanaka, who also served as head of trade at the Japanese economics ministry, was speaking ahead of the trip by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Saudi Arabia. The country has been looking at ways of developing safe nuclear power generation since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that affected the Fukushima plant, causing deaths and economic damage. Saudi Arabia was also planning to develop nuclear power generation capacity. He pointed out that the new technology could also offer a solution for Iran and North Korea – two of the current geopolitical trouble spots which are at odds with the rest of the world over their nuclear ambitions.