Build Japan-Arab world ties: envoy

With the war in Iraq having brought the Middle East into Japan’s focus, Tokyo and the Arab world now have a golden opportunity to build a serious, strategic relationship, Egyptian Ambassador Hisham Badr said Wednesday.

“We should not let the opportunity be wasted without building a serious, dynamic partnership between Japan and the Arab world,” Badr said during a visit to The Japan Times, citing the Arab-Japan Dialogue Forum, headed by former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, as a good example of one strong tie between the countries.

To help build the relationship, he proposed that Japan build a technology university in Egypt, which he said would serve as “a center of learning for the whole Arab world.”

On the economic front, Sadr said, “More Japanese companies are seeing Egypt as a strategic platform for them to do their preparations in the Middle East and Africa.”

He cited Nissan’s decision this year to invest $5 million in a factory in Cairo that will build 60,000 cars annually, along with Sharp Corp.’s opening of an air conditioner factory near Cairo.

Calling Egypt-Japan ties “the friendliest relationship in the world,” he said Japan’s continued support of Egypt’s call for Israel to exit Gaza is important for peace.

On the situation in Sudan’s Darfur region, Sadr said that instead of sanctions, the world should help the Sudan government, which he claimed is serious about resolving the issue.

He also said the war in Iraq has shown that “making war is easy, but to win peace, more than force is needed. You need legitimacy and justice.”