NAIROBI – Trade minister Toshimitsu Motegi said he has confirmed with the Kenyan government a joint undertaking for oil exploration in the southwestern part of the African country.
State-owned resource developers Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. and National Oil Corp. of Kenya agreed in April last year to jointly conduct exploration in the Great Rift Valley region. The project was reconfirmed with the government of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who came to power this April, Motegi said Monday.
In an interview, Motegi, who met with Deputy President William Ruto in Nairobi on Sunday, said, “it is important for Japan to eventually secure oil interests” in Kenya.
The exploration is expected to be carried out through fall 2014. Tokyo has been requesting that Japanese companies be granted concessions for test drilling if an oil deposit is confirmed.
During his visit to Kenya, Motegi, the minister of economy, trade and industry, unveiled a plan to train 30 people in the petroleum business over the next five years. He also visited the Olkaria geothermal project for power generation in the city of Naivasha, west of Nairobi.
Motegi visited Tanzania and Kenya from Friday through Monday. In the former, he held talks with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and promoted the participation of Japanese businesses in seaport and railway infrastructure development.
Embassy arson probe
Police authorities have decided to send a team of officers to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to determine whether a fire in June at the Japanese Embassy in Kinshasa was arson, sources said.
The team, which was decided upon Monday, will include investigators from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.
The fire occurred on the night of June 20 in the four-story building housing the embassy. Located on the fourth floor, the embassy was partially damaged by the fire and documents and other materials burned. No one was hurt.
Since the fire, the embassy has offered services to Japanese at the official residence of the ambassador, Yoshimasa Tominaga, according to the Foreign Ministry.