Genba departs for Mideast swing

Kyodo

Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba left Thursday on an eight-day swing through Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to discuss regional and energy issues.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the U.A.E. are Japan’s top three oil exporters, accounting for about 60 percent of total import volume.

Other issues expected to top the agenda include developments following the Arab Spring democracy uprisings that spread through the Middle East and North Africa last year, and Iran’s nuclear standoff.