Yemen Japan Relations

Background and Historical Exchanges

The Background

Yemen, or Wilayat al Yemen, until 1918 was part of the Ottoman Empire, the last Islamic Caliphate State, togather with most of the nowadays so-called the Near East, or the Middle East. Almamlakah Almutwakiliya Alyamaniya, or Yemen, or North Yemen, was the first Arab country to be recognize as an independant country in the whole region, at the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, and the dismemberment of its Wilyats, all of which fell under either the British or French colonialization or protection.

First contacts of Japan with Yemen dates back to 1890, when, on the 27th November two Japanes naval ships passed the Yemeni Island of Socotra, and on 30th November they passed through Aden, and passed through Yemen Bab Almandab Strait and by Yemeni Perim Island. [KITAKYUSHU SHIRITSU DAIGAKU HOU-SEI RONSHU Journal of Law and Political Science. Vol. XXXI No. 2.3.4 January, 2004, Shotaro Noda's Chronicle of Japanese Warships Bound for Turkey Part Five: Islamic West Asia, Translated by Michael Penn].

Noda wrote on November 30th 1890:

"At 2 pm on the 27th, at a distance of 1,560 miles from Colombo, we spotted the island of Socotra to our port side. On the 28th we entered the Gulf of Aden and gradually drew nearer to the city of Aden. After we pass Aden there are no more great obstacles to pass before we reach Constantinople."

He wrote on December 10th 1890:

"The ships have already arrived at Aden. The mountains are red and the sand is white. I previously described Aden as a place where the mountains are red and the sand is white. I'd now like to add just one more point, the ground is very dry and the grass is short. With the addition of that remark I can basically sum up Aden III a satisfactory manner. However, if I might be able to add some specific figures, the high and lofty red mountain rises 1,776 feet above sea level. This desolate and lonely sea port was, I believe, first established in the 13th century and was at one time a place of thriving trade and business. This important spot on the sea lane between Europe and Asia was bought by the East India Company around 1839, and from that time forward its condition began to revive. You should be aware that at present the yearly exports of this port are about 2,500,000 pounds sterling and that the imports amount to about 3,000,000 pounds sterling.

Looking around this place, you may be startled to notice a gun emplacement on the towering gates high above. In spite of this, there are camels walking about very slowly as if they are asleep. The very black natives are herding very white sheep, and together they throw up large clouds of red dust. To combat this, some people sprinkle water on the ground from leather skins draped on the camels' backs; nevertheless, the cruel sunshine soon dries the earth again and brings their efforts to naught. The desert spreads out endlessly. Where the sun reflects on the waves, one can see two Japanese flags flying gloriously.

These are the warships of the Great Japanese Empire, the Hiei and the Kongo. On the shore beside them the land is black with crowds of people I suppose that the people of Aden gathered there to gaze in wonder at the ships when they heard about the origin of our journey. If you take a stroll about the city, you will see the Turks from our ships sitting here and there with those of their fellow countrymen who live in this city. They are smoking a lot and drinking a lot of coffee. It is especially nice to see them laughing deeply and loudly in their pleasure of knowing that their homeland is near.

"Lonely Aden has today become a place of great excitement everywhere. Groups of Japanese sailors dressed all in white are entering every shop. They discover ostrich feathers and giant eggs and all manners of unusual items. In whichever shop you enter, you will be shown to heaps of ceramics or dolls or armored helmets or printed pictures. On the walls of a hotel are hanging pictures showing Japanese natural scenes. There is even a scrapbook with cutout pictures of beautiful Japanese women. I was a little surprised to come across such a unique contrivance."

He continued:

"In the December 1st edition of the British Times newspaper, the following story is printed: "The two Japanese warships, on a mission to return the 69 survivors of the Ertogrul, entered the port of Aden on the 30th ultimo.".... One evening a few officers were at a hotel on the Aden shoreline and met an English telegraph operator. This man praised our mission repeatedly with a proud look on his face. He then said: "Today the Aden government sent a telegraph message to the home government announcing the arrival of the Japanese warships. I am the one who put the seal on that report. Tomorrow, the 1st, the story should appear in the London Times."

As usual, when the Hiei and Kongo entered the port there were gun salutes between us and the Aden fortress. Small boats were sent to greet the other warships in harbor and they spread out all along the bay. In desolate Aden a three-day spring had come. At 9 am on December 3rd, we started for the Red Sea. At twilight of that same day we crossed the Bab al-Mandib Straits, and entered the sea. They say that Bab al-Mandib means "tears of blood." With the Perim Lighthouse visible on our port side, we passed through some rather narrow passages between many islands." End quote

Aden at that time was already occupied by the British since January 1839. This was the first ever recorded visit of Japanese to an Arabian land. Neither the Ottomans, until the collopse of the Empire, Nor the King of Yemen, after 1918, recognised the British occupation of Aden, or the Protection Treaties Britian signed with the local sheikhs of the souther Yemeni parts. Aden bacome strategically important after the opening of the Suez Canal on 16 November 1869.

The Historical Exchanges

Yemen Japanese contemporary relations date back to the early twentieth century. Japan showed keen interest in Yemen as early as 1920. Serious attempts have been made since then to strengthen ties with Imam Yehya Hameed Al-Deen (d.1948), King of Yemen. Over that period, Japan was able to account for 85% of Yemen's textile and wool imports.

In 1938, His Royal Highness Prince Al-Hussein Bin Yehya (d.1948), made an official visit to Japan. The purpose of the visit was to participate in the inauguration of the First Islamic Mosque in Tokyo on May 12, 1938. A high-level delegation accompanied Prince Al-Hussein during the said visit. Among delegate members were Yemen Minister of Endowments Mr. Hussein A1-Kibsi and Qadi Ali bin Hussein A1-Amri Deputy Governor of Hodeida (d.1956).

The delegation arrived by sea to Nagasaki on May 7, 1938, where the delegation was given an official reception hosted by the Governor of Nagasaki and by Mr. Saito, the first secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who accompanied the delegation all the way to the city of Kyoto.

The delegation arrived in Tokyo on May 9, 1938 where it was received at the Imperial Hotel by the Chief Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a representative from the Imperial Court and representative members of Muslim communities in Japan. The Yemeni delegation's visit received a warm reception throughout Japan.

On May 13, 1938, Prince Al-Hussein had an audience with His Majesty Hirohito Emperor of Japan. The Prince delivered to His Majesty a written message from Imam Yehya Hameed Al-Deen, King of Yemen. The message expressed appreciation for the rapid development and progress achieved by Japan and showed deep gratitude for the invitation extended to Yemen to participate in the ceremonies marking the inauguration of the first mosque in Tokyo. The said message mentioned that that invitation was an opportunity to express Yemen's sentiments of respect and consideration towards His Majesty the Emperor of Japan and towards the people of Japan. It added that Prince Al-Hussein's visit to Tokyo would pave the way for new era of improved friendly relations and useful exchanges between Yemen and Japan. His Majesty Hirohito bestowed on Prince Al-Hussein and decorated the delegation with Medals of Honor on the occasion of this visit.

On May 19, 1938, a reception was held by the Tokyo based Shinmon Newspaper and was attended by all delegates from Islamic and Arabic countries who were invited to the inauguration ceremony. In response to the opening statement delivered by the Editor-in-Chief of the Tokyo Shinmon Newspaper, Prince Al-Hussein gave a speech on behalf of all participants and invitees in which he expressed deep gratitude for the hospitality accorded to all delegations by His Majesty Hirohito the Emperor who shall be engraved in the minds and hearts of Muslims all over the world.

During the visit, the delegation had the opportunity to call on Japan's Parliament and to visit a number of civil and military institutions. The visit received wide-spread media coverage in Japan. The subject of Islam was revisited over thirty times by a sizeable number of Japanese newspapers. In statements given to the news media, Prince Al-Hussein described Japan as Asia's Bride and affirmed time and again his commitment to consolidating Yemen and the Arab world's ties with Japan. During the same visit, an announcement was made on the formation of the Japan Yemen Friendship Association. Furthermore, a Friendship and Trade Treaty between Yemen and Japan was also discussed during the visit. Prince Al-Hussein had a full authorization by the King of Yemen to conclude and sign this Treaty. The text of the authorization given to him is as follows:

We, Imam Yehya Bin Mohammed Hameed Al-Deen, the King of Yemen, hereby fully authorize Prince Al-Hussein to conclude and sign on our behalf a Friendship and Trade Treaty with the Imperial State of Japan. This Power of Attorney Statement was issued on the 6th of Dhu-Al-Hajja 1357H. (1938).

Based on that authorization, the Yemeni delegation conducted negotiations with the relevant authorities in Tokyo to initiate diplomatic ties and to conclude a Friendship Treaty with Japan. The Prince and Mr. Hussein AI-Kibsi stayed in Tokyo for an extended period of time to achieve the objectives cited above and to secure economic aid to Yemen.

His Majesty Hirohito Emperor of Japan sent a reply message to His Majesty the King of Yemen on May 26, 1938 expressing Japan's keen interest in strengthening friendly ties and economic cooperation with the Kingdom of Yemen. The message hailed Prince Al-Hussein’s visit to Japan and added that such visits would further consolidate ties between the two countries as they constitute a milestone in the history of Japan Yemen relations.

Intensive talks were held between the two countries. During the course of negotiations, Mr. Mohammed Raghib (d. 1956) the Yemeni Foreign Minister, sent a cable to his Japanese counterpart Mr. Hashiro asking him to inform Prince Al-Hussein, to proceed to Cairo in order to attend the International Conference on Palestine scheduled to be held in London in February 1939. The Prince was appointed as Head of the Yemeni delegation and was instructed to join other Arab delegates in Cairo and to proceed from there to London. The Government of Japan was requested by the king of Yemen to extend courtesies to Prince Al-Hussein on his way to Cairo. A chartered plane was offered by the Japanese Government to fly the Prince to Shanghai. From there, he boarded a ship on his way to Cairo. On January 15, 1939, Prince AI Hussein sent a cable of thanks to His Majesty the Emperor of Japan where he expressed his deep appreciation of the hospitality accorded to him and the accompanying delegates during their recent visit to Japan.

Mr. Hussein Al-Kibsi remained behind to work out the details before Commerce and Navigation Treaty may be signed. It was hoped that Prince Al-Hussein would be able to return to Japan for final approval and ratifications of the proposed Treaty. Nothing of the kind happened following the outbreak of the Second World War. In view of such escalation, Mr. Hussein Al-Kibsi had no other alternative but to return home. On his departure of Japan, in 1940 Mr. Al-Kibsi sent a cable of thanks to the Foreign Minister of Japan expressing his deep appreciation of and gratitude for the hospitality accorded to him during his visit to Japan.

Another important event in Yemen Japan relations was the short visits to the Port of Aden in 1960 by His Imperial Highness Akihito, then the Crown Prince of Japan, on his way to and from Ethiopia. During his visits, the Crown Prince had the opportunity to sightsee some historical sites of the City, including Aden Cisterns. He was accompanied on all these visits by the British High Commissioner in Aden at the time.

Over the years, a group of writers, artists and men of letters visited the Port city of Aden and stayed there for a few days. Among these were the internationally renowned Japanese philosopher Mr. Tetsuro Watasuji, the poet Mr. Kyoshi Hakalana and Mr. Toyoichiro Nogam. The famous Japanese artist Mr. Fujisawa Akira (d. 1998) also had the opportunity to visit Hadhramout and was inspired to document through artistic creations some of the historical sites in that ancient governorate.

This historical overview reflects the level of political, trade and cultural exchanges between Yemen and Japan prior to the 1962 Revolution which marked the formation of the Yemen Arab Republic.

During the period prior to the 1962 Revolution, Japan trade with Yemen flourished through Aden Colony. One of the first Agents of Toyota Motor was its Agent in Aden in 1956 which still the same Agent in Yemen.

In 1966, Nichiro Fishery Company made a survey for offshore fisheries around the Island of Socotra and other South Yemen territorial waters. In 1967 the company started fishing activities under the British Authority. In 1968 after independence of South Yemen the company made a contract for their fishing rights in Yemen. The company continued its activities in Yemen until 1982.

Exchange of Diplomatic Representation

Japan expressed official recognition of the Yemen Arab Republic, the then known as North Yemen, on May 10, 1963. On September 22, 1970, Japan appointed its Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as non-resident Ambassador of Japan to Sana'a. Japan's embassy in Sana'a was officially inaugurated on December 7, 1976. Japan's diplomatic representation in Sana'a remained at the level of Charge d'Affaires until June 7, 1989 when the Government of Japan designated Mr. Masaki Noguchi as its first resident Ambassador to Sana'a. He was followed by Mr. Kazuo Wanibuchi from 3 September 1991, Mr. Susumi Hoshi from 10 February 1994, Mr. Akira Hoshi from 21 September 1997, Mr. Masamitu Oki from 17 Mach 2001, Mr. Yoichi Ishii from April 2004, and Mr. Masakazu Toshikage from January 2007.

On December 12, 1967, the Government of Japan issued a statement expressing full recognition of the People's Republic of Southern Yemen, the then known as South Yemen. On April 10, 1974, Japan designated its Ambassador to Cairo as non-resident Ambassador of Japan to Aden. Japan's embassy in South Yemen was inaugurated in March 24, 1989 at the level of Charge d' Affaires. On May 10, 1974, South Yemen opened its embassy in Tokyo which was later closed in 1982 on grounds of austerity measures.

The Embassy of Yemen Arab Republic, i.e. North Yemen, in Tokyo was officially inaugurated on June 16, 1981 following the appointment of Mr. Ahmed Qayed Barakat on April 23, 1981 as the first Ambassador of the Yemen Arab Republic to Japan. Mr. Mohammad Abdulqoddos Alwazir was the second ambassador from 15 September 1986, and following the proclamation of the Republic of Yemen on May 22, 1990, Japan recognized the new unified Yemen. Ambassador Alwazir continued as Ambassador of the unified Yemen, the Republic of Yemen, until 1991. Thereafter, Mr. Abdulrahman Al-Hoothi took over the embassy as a Charge d’Affairs a.i. until he was assigned as an Ambassador on 13 July 1996. Mr. Ali Aidaroos Alsakkaf was Yemen Ambassador from 2003 until October 2007. The Yemeni Ambassador to Tokyo was Mr. Marwan Abdulla Abdulwahab Noman who took over as of November 2007.

Yemen Japan Economic and Technical Cooperation

Yemen-Japan Economic and technical cooperation may be traced back to March 13, 1972 when Japan sent a technical team to assess potential technical and economic cooperation and assistance to be extended to Yemen. Another mission arrived in Yemen on April 13, 1972. Following these visits Japan's Overseas Technical Cooperation Agency (OTCA) issued a status report on the development in Yemen.

In January 1974, Mr. Zentaro Kosaka, a special envoy and member of the parliament of Japan, arrived in Sana'a on the eve of an international oil crisis following the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. Serious discussions were held with the special envoy on the prospects of Japan-Yemen technical and economic cooperation. At the time, Yemen was keen on accelerating the process of growth and development following its success at national reconciliation.

In August 1975, Mr. Chubun Hatano, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Foreign Minister of Japan, visited Sana'a to hold talks on means and ways to further strengthen bilateral ties between the two friendly nations.

In October 1979, Yemen Minister of Development and Head of the Central Planning Organization, Mr. Ali Lutf AI- Thawr visited Japan to convey a message from Mr. Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani, Yemen Prime Minister to his Japanese counterpart, Mr. Masayoshi Ohiro, on means and ways to advance bilateral relations between the two countries. During the visit, Yemen requested the assistance of Japan in providing funding for a number of vital projects such as the Hajja Rural Development Project.

In view of the above, it would be fair to say that the seventies marked real improvement and growth in economic and technical cooperation between Yemen and Japan.

During the eighties, Japan agreed to provide technical assistance and funding to support vital infra-structure projects throughout Yemen. On April 4, 1980, Japan Prime Minister Mr. Massayoshi Ohira sent a letter to his Yemeni counterpart Mr. Abdul-Aziz Abdul-Ghani. Mr. Ohira expressed his government's intention to provide assistance and funding to accelerate the process of socio-economic development in Yemen.

In pursuit of these objectives, Mr. Yozo Ishikkawa Parliamentary secretary for Foreign Affairs and Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister visited Sana'a in July 1983.

In July 1985, Mr. Sato Megumi, Japanese Minister for Telecommunication and Post visited Sana'a. During the visit, intensive talks were held with relevant bodies in Yemen with focus on means and ways to support rural telecommunication projects.

Dynamic Economic & Technical Cooperation over the Nineties

During the 1990s, Japan Yemen Economic and technical cooperation reached new and unprecedented heights. Japan supported Yemen's drive towards unification. On May 23, 1990, Government of Japan issued a statement welcoming the proclamation of the Republic of Yemen following the voluntary unification of the Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen) and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen). Japan expressed support for Yemen's democratization process and for the country's commitment to the principles of a free market driven economy. Japan has come to realize Yemen's potential markets and natural resources. This was reflected in increased technical cooperation and financial assistance granted by Japan to Yemen over the nineties.

In 1991, Japan's assistance to Yemen reached over US $100 million and accounted for approximately 45.3% of the total DAC countries' ODA extended to Yemen at that time. The total DAC countries' ODA during that year was estimated at 220.8 million US Dollars. Japan's ODA to Yemen during 1998 reached 62.8 million US Dollars and accounted for 37.4% of total DAC countries ODA estimated at 166 million US Dollars during the said year. In areas of international donor cooperation, Japan claimed first position during 1991 and 1998 and second position during 1992-1993.

Such high level cooperation allowed for on-going contacts and visits at all levels between the two friendly countries. Within this context, Mr. Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani, in his capacity as a member of the Presidential Council, headed a high level delegation in an official visit to Japan in December 1990 to participate in the ceremony marking the accession of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan Akihito to the throne.

In September 2000, Mr. Yasuo Fukuda, Chief Cabinet Secretary (MP) and Head of Japan Yemen Friendship Association, paid a visit to Yemen at an invitation kindly extended to him by Yemen Government. Mr. Fukuda was able to hold high level talks with Vice President Abdu Rabbo Mansur Hadi, Political Adviser to the President Dr. Abdul Kareem Al-Iryani, Director of the Presidential office Mr. Ali Mohamed Al Anesi, Mr. Abdullah Al-Sayedi Vice-Foreign Minister and Executive Director of YJFA Mohamed Mubarak Adhban. The talks focused on bilateral relations and international issues of mutual concern.

During the period from September 7-9, 2002, Japan Senior vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Seiken Suguira, visited Yemen in response to an invitation extended to him by the Yemeni Foreign Minister, Dr. Abu-Bakr Al Qirbi. During his visit, the Japanese Senior vice Minister for Foreign Affairs was able to hold high-level talks with senior members of the Yemeni Government including the Minister of Planning and Development, the Minister and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Head of the Yemen Japan Friendship Association. Before concluding his visit, the Japanese Senior vice Minister for Foreign Affairs called on the Yemeni Prime Minister Mr. Abdul Qader Bajammal and had an audience with His Excellency Mr. Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of the Republic of Yemen. In all meetings, talks focused on means and ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in the best interest of growth and development in Yemen. In March 2005 Mr. Katsuyuki Kawai, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, paid a visit to Yemen. Another visit by senior Japanese official was in July 2006 with the visit of Mr. Shintaro Ito, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, where he took part in the delivery of medical equipments valuing US$75,442 provided as a grant by the Government of Japan to Al-Shorta Hospital in Sana'a.

As a major donor country to Yemen, Japan participated in the Consultative meeting of donor countries which was held in Paris in collaboration with World Bank during the period from October 17-18, 2002. The primary purpose of the meeting was to galvanize international assistance in support of Yemen's efforts to combat poverty by accelerating socio-economic growth and development. In November 2006 during the Yemen CG meeting in London, the donors including Japan and the GCC pledged up to 4.7 billion USD. In June, 2007, the first follow-up meeting of the Yemen CG was held in Sana’a, when the total volume of the pledges amounted to about 5 billion USD. The donors and the international organizations of Europe, USA, and GCC scaled up their economic cooperation through grant aid and loans.

Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh Historic First Visit to Japan (1999)

Yemen Japan relations reached new heights following historic and official visit of President Ali Abdullah Saleh to Tokyo during the period from March 14-17, 1999. The visit came in response to an invitation from the Government of Japan. This was the first visit to Japan by a Yemeni Head of State. It opened a new chapter for the existing excellent relations between the two countries. The President's visit represented an important milestone in the history of Yemen-Japan relations. During his visit to Japan, President Saleh made a state call on His Majesty The Emperor of Japan and attended a court Luncheon hosted by His Majesty. The President also held a meeting with His Excellency Mr. Kwizo Obuchi, Prime Minister of Japan. During the meeting, discussions focused on various issues ranging from bilateral to international concerns. President Saleh highly valued Japan's assistance to Yemen and its support of Yemen's democratization and structural reform processes. He added that such bilateral talks would further consolidate cooperative links and the partnership between the two friendly countries. President Saleh also confirmed Yemen's support for Japan to obtain a permanent membership in the Security Council- to which Prime Minister Obuchi expressed appreciation. The Japanese Prime Minister highly valued Yemen's untiring efforts in areas of structural adjustments and stressed Japan's readiness to support Yemen's endeavors nation-building on the basis of promoting development, economic reforms and democracy through economic cooperation programs. Mr. Obuchi also stressed Japan's intention to extend financial contribution to the National Demining Program of the Republic of Yemen through the United Nations Development Program. On his part, President Saleh expressed his gratitude and appreciation of Japan's support for Yemen's economic reforms and poverty alleviation programs.

This important visit was followed by several high level visits on the side of Yemen.

  • March 2000, Mr. Mohammed Al-Khadem Al-Wajeeh Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources
  • November 2001, Mr. Ali Hassan Al-Ahmadi, Minister of Fisheries
  • January, 2002, Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Sofan, Minister of Planning and Development

Visit of Yemen Foreign Minister Dr. Abu Bakr Al Qirbi's Japan (2002)

Yemen Foreign Minister Dr. Abu Bakr Qirbi visited Tokyo from March 8-14, 2002. This marked the third visit to Japan by a Yemeni Foreign Minister. The first visits took place in October 1987 and the second in December 1996, and were paid by Dr. Abdul Karim Al Iryani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs. Dr. Qirbi's visit came at a time when the two countries were just about to celebrate three decades of cooperation between the two friendly countries. Yemen Foreign Minister held talks with his Japanese counterpart Mrs. Yoriko Kawaguchi to further economic cooperation between Yemen and Japan. Other bilateral and international issues of mutual concern, including international terrorism, were also discussed. On her part, the Japanese Foreign Minister highly valued Yemen's success in areas such as economic and structural reforms, social safety networks and poverty alleviation programs. She stressed her government's intention to provide support and assistance to Yemen in those areas. Both sides confirmed that they would strengthen consultations and cooperation on issues of mutual concern at both regional and international levels. The Japanese Foreign Minister described Yemen as an interesting and attractive country from the viewpoint of tourism and investment. She expressed intentions to make further efforts to encourage Japanese corporations to invest in Yemen. Japan welcomed Yemen's efforts to obtain membership in the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC). Such a move would allow Yemen to participate in periodic meetings between the European Union and the GCC’s member states and would facilitate the flow of international assistance to Yemen.

Other visits are:

  • March 2004, Dr. Mohammed Lotf A. Al-Iryani, Minister of Water and Environment
  • March 2005, Mr. Khalid Abdulwahab Sharif, Head of Supreme Election Committee
  • March 2005, Dr. Mohammed Yahya Alnomi, Minister of Health
  • April 2005, Mr. Abdulwahab Mahmoud, Deputy Speaker of Parliament

Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh second Visit to Japan (2005)

President Saleh, Emperor AkihitoHis Excellency Mr. Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of the Republic of Yemen, visited Japan from November 6 to 8, 2005, at the invitation of the Government of Japan. This was the second visit of the President as the head of State of Yemen, which follows his first visit as a guest of the Government of Japan in March, 1999, and was a good occasion to further deepen and develop the amicable relations between the two countries. During the visit, President Saleh made a state call on His Majesty the Emperor. President Saleh also held a meeting with Speaker of the House of Representatives Mr. Yohei Kono.

President Saleh, Prime Ministe KoizumiPresident Saleh and Prime Minister Mr. Junichiro Koizumi held talks and discussed a variety of issues ranging from bilateral relations to regional and international affairs. President Saleh also met members of the Japanese Parliament, the President of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and others.

At all the meetings, both the Yemeni and Japanese sides confirmed their willingness to further develop the friendly and cooperative relationship between both the two countries and the peoples. At the summit talks, both sides reaffirmed that the stability of Yemen is critical to the stability of the Arabian Peninsula. Both sides confirmed their commitment not only to strengthen the relations in the traditional forms of cooperation but also to share information and closely cooperate in such areas as poverty reduction, democratization and prevention of terror, with the support of the international community to eradicate poverty according as the Millennium Summit Declaration of 2000.

Both sides shared the view that comprehensive reform of the United Nations (UN) is important for the UN to address the new conditions of the 21st century. President Saleh renewed Yemen's support for Japan's permanent membership in the Security Council. Prime Minister Koizumi expressed his support for Yemen's successful and continuous efforts in the fight against terrorism in collaboration with the international community.

Both sides shared the view that Yemen's efforts to accelerate its poverty reduction program and democratization will lead to the eradication of the safe haven of terror and to the prevention of terrorism. To that end, the Japanese side expressed its readiness to extend assistance to achieve these goals. Yemen welcomed Japan's decision to continue the fight against terrorism through activities based upon the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law. Both sides confirmed that non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their delivery means is essential for the peace and stability of both the Middle Eastern and East Asian regions and the entire world.

Prime Minister Koizumi highly applauded Yemen's policies on economic reforms and democratization. The Japanese side expressed its support to these efforts, and expressed its hope that Yemen's economic reforms will improve the living standard of its people. The Japanese side recognizes the importance of basic education, rural water supply and health services and has proactively extended assistance to these sectors in Yemen, through its ODA utilizing such schemes as Non-Project Grant Aid and Grant Aid for Increase of Food Production (2KR). The Japanese side expressed its readiness to further support Yemen's efforts in these sectors.

In this connection, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will undertake a development study to formulate a project for rural water supply to cover designated areas in five governorates of Yemen and to improve the capacities of the local water supply authorities. JICA will also enlarge Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) dispatch program which was resumed last July. Furthermore, in view of the presidential election and local council elections which will be held nationwide in 2006, the Japanese side has expressed its readiness to consider assistance to the government of Yemen to further accelerate the democratization process in Yemen.

The Japanese side also expressed its intention to consolidate the concept of human security in Yemen, a concept which Japan takes the initiative to promote to the entire world. The Japanese side stated that it has decided to extend assistance toward the Yemen Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC) to support the activities for clearance of land mines.

While expressing deep appreciation for Japan's assistances to Yemen to date, including debt relief, the Yemeni side explained the economic and social challenges which the country is facing as a result of the reforms made by the government of Yemen and asked for increased support from Japan.

  • August 2007, Mr. Hamoud Mohammad Obad, Minister of Youth and Sports
  • March 2008, Mr. Khaled Mahfoodh Bahah, Minister of Oil & Minerals

The latest important visit was the visit of Mr. Khalid Mahfoudh Bahah, Yemen’s Minister of Oil and Minerals, from 4 to 9 March 2008. During his visit he met with Mr. Amari, Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry, and held extensive talks on promoting Japan’s participation in investment in oil and gas in Yemen. During his visit he held a symposium on oil and gas in Yemen, arranged by JOGMEC attended by more than twenty Japanese oil companies. Minister of Oil and Minerals Khalid Bahah called Japanese companies to benefit from the investment climate in Yemen in sphere of oil sector. Mr. Bahah invited the companies to take part in third oil, gas and minerals conference that will be held in Sana'a by the end of this year.

He visited Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' dock in Nagasaki to see construction of two LNG vessels being built for YLNG, with a full-loading capacity of around 150,000 cubic meters of LNG. Several Japanese oil companies expressed interest in participating in the forthcoming Yemen 3rd International Conference on Oil, Gas & Minerals that will take place in Sana’a late this Year.

Recent Exchange of Visits between Yemen and Japan


Visits by Yemeni side to Japan:

  • April 2008, His Excellecny Abdel Kareem Isamail Al Arhabi, Vice Prime Minister in charge of Economic Affairs, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation
  • April 2008, Mr. Muhi el Dein Al Dhubi, Senior Deputy Foreign Minister to attend preparatory meetings for Forum for Future
  • June 2008, Khalid Abel Rhman Al Akwa, Deputy Assistant of Foreign Minister on invitation of Foreign Ministry
  • October 2008, A delegation from Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research for attending Forum of Science and Technology in the Society
  • December 2008, Delegation from Minister of Education upon invitation of JICA to sign agreement to build schools in Sana'a
  • December 2008, Delegation from Coast Guard to attend training course
  • December 2008, Minister of Oil and Mineral Mr. Air Al Idroos visit Japan / LNG tanker project

Visit by Japanese side to Yemen:

  • May 2008, Vice Foreign Minister Mr. Ono
  • August 2008, JICA Vice President Mr. Nagatsuka
  • Delegations from JICA for survey
  • December 2008, Delegation from Coastal Guard


From Yemen to Japan:

  • March 2009, Chairman of Investment Authority, Mr. Salah Mohamed Saeed Al Attar, to attend Investment Forum
  • November 2009, A delegation from Coastal Guard to attend training course
  • November 2009, Mr. Ali Ahmend Raasa, President of Yemen Coastal Guard visit on invitation of Ministry of Foreign Affairs

From Japan to Yemen:

  • Through the Year, Delegations from JICA, Foreign Ministry and Coastal Guard

For further information click here

For further information on Yemen History click here