Abe in ME

After his first visit to the US, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took a seven day trip through the Middle East visiting Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Egypt. Two interesting things (in my mind) happened on this trip.

First, in Saudi Arabia Abe offered King Abdullah the “use of oil storage facilities in Okinawa”:http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/405354 in exchange for preferential purchasing rights in case of an emergency. Large storage tanks in Asia could help with distribution of Saudi oil in Asia. Abe is looking to deepen Japan’s energy relationship with Saudi Arabia. After having to back out of the Iran deal and getting hosed on the Russian deal, Japan’s search for a stable energy supply is leading them to “the Devil” as Robert Baer would say. Echoes of Japan and America’s special security relationship.

Second, in Abu Dhabi Abe “met with MSDF crew”:http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/405410 supporting anti-terrorism ops in the Gulf. He told them he hopes they will help “write a new chapter for Japan on the frontlines of international contribution.” Abe is staying on message here (e.g. on Constitution Day last week Abe’s office “released another statement”:http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/405670 calling for constitutional revision) with his goal to reform Article 9 and the Japanese constitution. The interesting thing here is he is bringing his message directly to troops on the “front line.”

All in all the trip abroad wasn’t terribly exciting. As usual Abe remains determined to push for a “Beautiful Japan.” Maybe not so usual is the new move to field alternative policies to protect Japan’s oil supply. Since this plays right into my thesis I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

About Younghusband

Sir Francis Edward Younghusband (1863-1942) was a British explorer, army officer, military-political officer, and foreign correspondent born in India who led expeditions into Manchuria, Kashgar, and Tibet. He three times tried and failed to scale Mt. Everest and journeyed from China to India, crossing the Gobi desert and the Mustagh Pass (alt. c.19,000 ft/5,791 m) of the Karakoram mountain range in modern day Pakistan. Convinced of Russian designs on British interests in India, Younghusband proactively engaged in the nineteenth century spying and conflict over Central Asia between the British and the Russians known as the Great Game. "Younghusband" is a Canadian who has spent a number of years bouncing back and forth between his home country and Japan. Fluent in Japanese and English with experience in numerous other languages from Spanish to Georgian, Younghusband has travelled throughout Asia. He graduated with an MA from the War Studies Department at the Royal Military College of Canada, where he focussed on the Japanese oil industry and energy security issues. He has recently returned to Canada from Japan, and is working in the technology sector.
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