An Interview With H. E. Hideki Ito, Ambassador (Japan)

On the special occasion of Bahrain’s National Day, Gulf Insider takes a closer look at relationships between Bahrain and some of its major trading partners.

What are your country’s main trading activities with Bahrain?

Japan’s trade volume with Bahrain has been stable at around one billion US dollars although there is fluctuation according to international economic conditions and regional political situation. Japan’s main export items are vehicles and machinery, while Japan’s main import items from Bahrain are petrochemical products and aluminium. Japan is the fifth largest exporter to Bahrain after China, UAE, USA and Saudi Arabia.

Is there anything that makes your country’s relationship with Bahrain special?

While Japan is in East Asia, Bahrain is in West Asia. Both as Asian countries, Japan and Bahrain share common values. For example, both Japanese people and Bahraini people respect the elders.

Also, Japan and Bahrain both attach importance to the harmony of its society. Bahrain is famous for being a tolerant society. Furthermore, because Japan and Bahrain lack natural resources, we regard human resource development and education as important.
In this way, in fact, there is a solid basis to have a mutual understanding between Japanese people and Bahraini people.

Any interesting news, recent or historical, about your country’s relations with Bahrain?

Japan is not a newcomer to Bahrain. Our relations go back to 1934 when the first oil export from Bahrain went to Japan. In recent years, there were exchanges of visits at the highest level. In April 2012, His Majesty King Hamad made a historic visit to Japan. In the following year 2013, in August, Prime Minister Abe made the first visit of Japanese Prime Minister to Bahrain and, in October, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Salman visited Japan.

Any short message for our readers on Bahrain’s National Day?

Congratulations on Bahrain’s National Day! Japan wishes to further upgrade its excellent relations with Bahrain in all fields. Recently Japanese Foreign Minister visited the Kingdom. And you will see more Japanese cultural events in the coming period. We wish Bahrain all the best for its continuing progress and further prosperity.