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From diplomacy to manga: Saudi crown prince's dynamic agenda in Japan

1 min

Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman, is set to embark on an official visit to Japan from May 20 to 23. 

Mohammed bin Salman © Mena Today 

Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman, is set to embark on an official visit to Japan from May 20 to 23. 

This visit is anticipated to further strengthen the diplomatic and economic relations between Saudi Arabia and Japan, as announced by Tokyo on Friday.

During his visit, the Crown Prince will meet with key Japanese figures including Emperor Naruhito and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The visit aims to build on the friendly ties that have been nurtured over the years, with the Crown Prince's last trip to Japan occurring during the G20 summit in Osaka in 2019.

Japan, heavily reliant on the Middle East for over 90% of its oil imports, continues to deepen its energy ties with Gulf countries. Japanese energy firms are increasingly investing in projects in the Gulf region, focusing on hydrogen and ammonia production intended for use in Japanese thermal power stations as a method to reduce CO2 emissions. However, these initiatives face scrutiny and opposition from environmental groups.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), a major player in the global investment scene, has acquired significant stakes in several Japanese companies, particularly in the video game industry, including more than 8% of Nintendo’s shares. PIF also maintains a longstanding partnership with SoftBank Group, the Japanese tech investment giant.

In line with Saudi Arabia's "Vision 2030," which aims to diversify its economy beyond oil, a new entertainment city near Riyadh is set to feature the world’s first theme park inspired by the popular manga and anime series, Dragon Ball. 

This project reflects the kingdom’s broader strategy to boost tourism, sports, and technology sectors to enhance its international image.

The visit also comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is under international scrutiny for its human rights record and its adherence to a strict interpretation of Islam. The Crown Prince's initiatives, such as Vision 2030, are part of efforts to improve the kingdom’s global standing.


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