The Japanese Government announced, On Thursday (22 November), a new pro-Arab Middle East policy in a bid to ensure the countries economic survival.
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Background: The Japanese Government announced, On Thursday (22 November), a new pro-Arab Middle East policy in a bid to ensure the countries economic survival.
Denied free access to oil -- life blood of its long booming economy--by Arab restrictions, the Japanese Government surrendered and abandoned its previous neutral Middle East stance. By issuing the announcement, which gives full backing to the United Nations Security Council resolution 243 calling for complete Israeli withdrawal, the Government hopes to avoid the Arab demand of cutting all diplomatic and economic relations with Israel.
Already hit by a 25 per cent reduction in oil supplies, the Japanese Government also hopes to prevent a further 5 per cent reduction by the Arab oil producers next month. Some optimistic officials hope that the announcement will shift Japan's status in Arab eyes from that of a "neutral nation", to that of a "friendly nation" with full oil supplies.
Immediately before issuing the statement, Japanese Foreign Minster Masayoshi Ohira received the representatives of nine Arab countries to inform them of the statement and sound them out on their reaction.
The delegation, led by Saudi Arabian Ambassador Sheikh Aouney Wafa Dejany, met Mr. Ohira at the Foreign Ministry. In a less publicised meeting, Japanese Foreign Vice-Minister Shinsaku Hogen informed Israeli Ambassador Eytan Ronn of the announcement's contents.
The Government had issued the announcement under pressure from Japanese business interests, but the statement had little effect on the Tokyo Stock Exchange -- which continued to slump to its lowest level this year. Heavy selling by overseas investors had caused the slump in shares stock in industries that depend heavily on oil or oil-produced electricity: such as petrochemicals, plastics, copper, aluminum, and car and ship building.
Japan relies on Middle East oil for more than 80 per cent of its supplies, half of which come from Arab nations. Economic experts predict that Japan's imports of oil will decrease by a total of 36 per cent if the ??? further five percent reduction is put into effect.