「Vision 2030 and a Key Role for Japan」
ジョセフ・ケシェシアン氏（Dr. Joseph A. Kéchichian）
Vision 2030 and Key Role for Japan
講師：ジョセフ・ケシェシアン氏（Dr. Joseph A. Kechichian）
テーマ：Vision 2030 and a Key Role for Japan
Vision 2030 and A Key Role for Japan
When the heir to the heir apparent Prince Muhammad bin Salman led a Saudi delegation to Tokyo to meet with Japan’s political leadership and business elite in late 2016, few appreciated the Kingdom’s interest in seeking Japanese investment in Vision 2030, and even fewer perceived how much Riyadh looked-up to Japan—a country with a historically close relationship with the Saudi Arabia—as a model worthy of emulation.
This presentation will look to how leaders of both Saudi Arabia and Japan view their bilateral ties. From Riyadh’s perspective, the potential for Vision 2030 to successfully diversify the Kingdom’s economy beyond its traditional oil sector will depend on the world’s wealthiest and most technologically advanced nations that will, hopefully, invest in Saudi Arabia. Japan, a powerhouse with the fourth largest economy in the world and no historical baggage in the Arab world, naturally fits into Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030. Moreover, and as Japan’s top supplier of crude oil, Saudi Arabia encourages long-term stability as a key ingredient that brings the two countries together. For Tokyo, which desires undisrupted flows of oil to fuel its economy, how best to nurture ties is also a must. Consequently, it would be safe to assume that it is in Japan’s interest to ensure that Vision 2030 is a success, and that the Kingdom is able to maintain economic stability into the 21st century.
Still, while exploiting niche opportunities in the Middle East, Japan has played a historically passive role in the region based on its cultural orientation. Tokyo’s priority in the Middle East has been securing a steady flow of hydrocarbon resources to power its economy while maintaining neutrality in regional conflicts, with a goal to pursue positive relations with all regional players. This is no longer possible and it seems that Japanese officials have taken stock of how the Middle East’s geopolitical instability threatens their own national interests. Chief among these concerns is the impact of the 1979 Iranian Revolution and its spillover effects throughout the Muslim World, which now challenges Japan’s Middle East foreign policy. Caught between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Japan would like to maintain neutrality in local conflicts though this is increasingly difficult.
Equally important, and because of what is truly at stake, Japan is signaling an increased interest to use its military power to protect the country’s access to energy supplies from the Arabian Peninsula and the greater Middle East. In late 2008, Japan deployed a military reconnaissance battalion for operations off the coasts of Djibouti, Kenya, Oman, and Yemen. In 2011, Tokyo established a military base in Djibouti—Japan’s first on foreign soil since World War II, which officials decided in 2015 to make permanent. Approximately 600 J.S.D.F. members currently use the African country’s ports to operate naval vessels and a land facility. Given that roughly 10 percent of the ships which transit the Bab-el-Mandeb (the strait situated between Djibouti, Eritrea, and Yemen linking the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea) are Japanese, it was logical for Japan to extend its military presence to a country strategically situated at the Red Sea’s southern gate. In 2012, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda spoke about Japan’s need to deploy the J.S.D.F. to the Strait of Hormuz for minesweeping and escort operations in case the key shipping route was closed. In July 2016, Japan passed a law permitting the J.S.D.F. to engage in military operations targeting foreign combatants, which raises important questions about the future role of its military outside of its own neighborhood, most importantly in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.
Within the context of extremists such as ISIS and al-Qaeda, which have killed several Japanese nationals over the years, and continue to threaten Japan’s interests in the Middle East and Africa, Tokyo is likely to turn to its security relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members to ensure security of strategically vital straits. To encourage such stability and protect busy trade routes, Japan seeks to assert a more active role in the region as a promoter of conflict resolution. Unquestionably, Japan, which sources much of its oil from Riyadh, has high stakes in Saudi Arabia maintaining stability and achieving its goals as laid out in Vision 2030.