TOKYO: Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kenji Yamada has extolled the friendly relationship between Japan and Kuwait, which dates back to the period before Kuwait's independence. Yamada made the statement during a reception held by the Kuwaiti Embassy Tuesday on Kuwait's 62nd National Day and 32nd Liberation Day, which brought some 300 guests including Yamada.

"Since the establishment of the diplomatic relations in 1961, the two countries have fostered friendship and established relations as an important partner for the past six decades," Yamada said. In an atmosphere of happiness and harmony, high-ranking officials, political, military, and parliamentary and media figures, businessmen, academics, diplomats and representatives of the Japan-Kuwait Society also attended the event.

"Kuwait is a trustworthy supplier of crude oil for Japan and plays an extremely important role in stabilizing the international crude oil market. "I am also pleased that the relationship between the two countries have achieved steady progress not only in the energy sector, but also in a wide range of areas," the official said. "The two countries have helped each other as friends when facing historic difficulties, and this has been the foundation of the relationship of the both countries," he said.

Yamada pointed out Japan's $13 billion financial aid and minesweeping operations in the wake of the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, as well as Kuwait's donation worth JPY 40 billion ($300 million), which was the largest amount provided by a single country, following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Yamada also underlined telephone talks between Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah last December, in which they confirmed to further strengthen bilateral relations, as well as resumption of exchanges of high-level officials.

"I hope that the visits and exchanges between the two countries will continue to increase in the future," he said. He pledged that the Japanese government will continue to make every effort to further develop bilateral relations both bilaterally and internationally, based on the values shared by both countries. Meanwhile, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan Sami Al-Zamanan recalled Kuwait's democratic, developmental, and humanitarian pathway on the occasion, and renewed the people of Kuwait's commitment to peace and the UN Charter in the relations between countries.

"This occasion also reminds us of the commendable contributions of the friendly nations that supported my nation's Liberation, among which Japan, whose stance shall always remain engraved in our minds," Al-Zamanan said. "Kuwait's independence marked the historical commencement of our distinguished diplomatic relations with Japan, with whom Kuwait shares a strong friendship and an exemplary partnership that spans many levels and areas," he stated.

"On this occasion, I reiterate our determination to strengthen our bilateral ties to keep pace with the changes and challenges that our world is witnessing, mindful of the interests of the Kuwaiti and Japanese peoples," the ambassador said.

In addition, Al-Zamanan stressed that Tuesday's event coincided with several crises and terrifying disasters, particularly the humanitarian disaster caused by the massive earthquake that devastated several areas in Turkey and Syria, offering Kuwait's sincere condolences to their peoples, friends, and the victims' families. The embassy displayed Kuwaiti heritage and distributed the latest issue of Japan-Kuwait Society's newsletter to guests in the event. - KUNA