At the meeting in Tokyo, Kuwaiti Minister of State for Development and Planning Affairs Mr Al-Sabeeh sought Japan to send experts for the smooth execution of the Kuwait Development Plan for 2015-2020, which includes the construction of a metro and a rail project
“Japan had already sent experts to Kuwait for three weeks when we drew up the development plan. I hope your country will also send us experts in the execution phase of the plan. Furthermore, we expect Japan’s assistance for the drafting of the future development plan,” the minister said, adding that cooperation between chambers of commerce of the two countries is also essential.
Showing satisfaction with the Kuwait-Japan friendly ties, the minister expressed readiness to further promote bilateral cooperative relations, revealing that the two countries are set to sign two Memorandums of Cooperation. The Kuwaiti side also showed their willingness utilizing Japan’s expertise to help redevelop the Gulf country.
The 2015-2020 Kuwait Development Plan, announced in August, will include the construction of a metro project and a rail project linking the five partners of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
The Chairwoman of the Japanese side of the Japan-Kuwait Parliamentary Friendship League, Mrs Yuriko Koike, underlined Japan’s advanced metro network and sophisticated computerized traffic system, in addition to experiences in environmental projects.
Koike, former Japanese Environmental Minister, also pointed out that Kuwait’s offset program has been a major obstacle preventing investment by Japanese and other foreign companies in Kuwait, expressing hope for the abolishment of the offset program to ensure a better business environment for Japanese companies in the Gulf country. In response, Al-Sabeeh said the offset program is not applied to the infrastructure projects in the 2015-2020 Development Plan.
She also reiterated Japan’s gratitude to Kuwait for its fullest support in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Following the twin disasters, Kuwait donated 5 million barrels of crude oil to Japan, equivalent to some USD 500 million, to support its reconstruction work. In addition, Kuwait contributed USD 3 million to the heavily-damaged marine science museum and USD 2 million to Japan Red Cross Society for the reconstruction projects such as the procurement of new coaches for the tsunami-hit railway.
Speaking to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) and Kuwait TV after the meeting, Al-Sabeeh said the Kuwaiti side is expecting wider cooperation from the Japanese side and receiving experts for the success of the upcoming development plan, in which the private sector are expected to play a bigger role.
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