News / Asia

Japan's Abe Focuses on Energy During Trip Overseas

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's Kremlin, April 29, 2013.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's Kremlin, April 29, 2013.
Analysts say securing energy deals will be a main focus of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's week-long economic diplomacy tour of Russia and the Middle East.

Accompanied by a delegation of more than 100 Japanese business leaders, Prime Minister Abe is in the middle of a trip that includes stops in Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.

Stops on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's week-long economic diplomacy tour of Russia and the Middle East.Stops on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's week-long economic diplomacy tour of Russia and the Middle East.
x
Stops on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's week-long economic diplomacy tour of Russia and the Middle East.
Stops on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's week-long economic diplomacy tour of Russia and the Middle East.
Securing cheaper energy imports is crucial for resource-starved Japan, which has struggled to recover from the loss of almost all of its nuclear energy in the wake of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Masamichi Adachi, a senior economist at J.P. Morgan in Tokyo, said this will likely be the emphasis of Abe's stops in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which are the biggest and second-biggest providers of crude oil to Japan, respectively.

"[Abe's trip] is all related to energy. Japan is now facing big headwinds from the accident at the nuclear power plants, and that means Japan needs to import more energy. Therefore, we want more cheap energy," said Adachi.

As Japan's dependence on energy imports has risen, so have prices, creating an even greater problem for Japan's economy and negatively affecting its trade deficit.

But Adachi said Japan may have leverage to negotiate prices with energy sellers, now that the relatively inexpensive U.S. shale gas is being sold abroad.

Japanese energy officials also hope to use the trip to restore domestic and international demand for Japan's nuclear power technology, which collapsed sharply after the 2011 disaster.

An association of Japanese and French businesses are reported to be among the finalists to secure a $22 billion deal with Turkey to build a nuclear power plant on the Black Sea coast.

Adachi said such a nuclear cooperation deal, which would be the first since the Fukushima incident, would go a long way in assuring Japanese citizens that it is safe to restore Japan's nuclear reactors.

"Japanese industries want to prove that Japanese nuclear technology is safe enough so that other foreign governments can accept it. Then that means that in our country, the Japanese people can also say our technology is fine," said Adachi.

Abe's trip also has diplomatic goals.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, April 29, 2013.Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, April 29, 2013.
x
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, April 29, 2013.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, April 29, 2013.
On Monday, he became the first Japanese leader to visit Russia in a decade. After meeting in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin, the two leaders announced they were instructing diplomats to intensify efforts to work out a peace treaty.

The two countries did not sign a formal peace treaty at the end of World War II because of a dispute over four islands taken by advancing Soviet forces at the close of the war.

Abe is scheduled to meet with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud on Tuesday. He will then meet with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan on Wednesday. He meets with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday before heading home on Saturday.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid