The Vicissitudes of Japan-Saudi Relations

Penn, Michael
June 2011
Comparative Islamic Studies;2011, p295
Academic Journal
The article presents an outline of Japan's relationship with the King- dom of Saudi Arabia since the late 1930s. The Japan-Saudi relation- ship deserves attention because it has been one of the world's most important economic axes for decades: Saudi Arabia has been the world's leading exporter of crude oil and Japan has been the major industrial economy most directly dependent on Persian Gulf oil. The author shows how the pattern of Japan-Saudi relations has in fact been rather curious to the extent that while the bilateral oil connection has remained generally stable, the political relationship has gone through remarkable cycles of boom and bust. This Japan-Saudi relationship began strong in the late 1950s but was tried when Saudi leaders responded to Japan's refusal to take a clear stand on the Palestinian issue and other matters of concern to the Arab world. Tokyo was finally forced to come off the fence during the 1973 Oil Crisis, and paid due attention to oil diplomacy for about a decade. The author analyzes how this relationship develops further through the Kuwait War of 1990-1991, the discontinuation of the Arabian Oil concession in Khafji in 2000, the Iraq War, and the massive PetroRabigh project on the Red Sea Coast.


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