Economic Relations

1. Bilateral Trade

1.1 Energy Sector
 Speaking in historical terms, the Qatar – Japan energy relation expands over a span of three decades. Japan is a long time buyer of Qatari crude oil, and mostly over 50% of Qatar’s crude oil is exported to Japan. In Year 2008, Qatar exported 837,000 b/d of crude oil to Japan which constitutes 54.1% of Qatar’s total oil exports. On the other hand, we should also not forget that Japan was the first customer of Qatari LNG, thus providing a solid base for marketing of Qatari LNG in the world. In Year 2008, Japan imported 8.2 mtpa of Qatari LNG.

1.2 Goods & Services
 Looking at trade between Qatar and Japan, latest statistics put Japan as the top trading partner of Qatar, both in terms of imports and exports. Japan total imports from Qatar stood at m$ 26,237 during year 2008, which constitute 46% of Qatar’s total exports. Japan’s imports from Qatar are mostly crude oil and LNG. As we mentioned earlier, as much as about 54% of Qatari crude oil and nearly 27% of Qatari LNG is exported to Japan.
As far as Japanese exports to Qatar are concerned, the figure stood at m$ 2,010, which represents Japan’s share of (7%) of total Qatar Imports during year 2008. Vehicles, machineries and electronics constitute the major portion of Japanese exports to Qatari market.

2. Strategic Partnership

 In April 2006, on the occasion of International Energy Forum (IEF) held in Doha, Qatar’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy & Industry, H.E. Mr. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah and H.E. Mr. Toshihiro Nikai, Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, held a meeting to further expand and strengthen bilateral cooperation and signed a Joint Statement to establish the “Japan – Qatar Joint Economic Committee”.
 Based on this Joint Statement, the “Japan – Qatar Joint Economic Committee” was officially launched in November 2006 during the visit of Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy & Industry H.E. Mr. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah to Japan. This joint Economic Committee has been held every year since 2006. The fourth committee took place in November 2009.
 Both sides also agreed to set up a working group on energy, as well as another working group on business environment and investment. The purpose of the working group on energy is to have a continued dialogue on energy related matters and to maintain and expand trade and investment in the field of oil and natural gas including LNG and GTL. Another working group aims at proposing and developing an action plan for the improvement of business environment in order to further increase trade, investments and business opportunities between the two countries.

3. Project Financing

 Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is playing a vital role in financing the energy related projects in the region. Realizing the importance of the region, JBIC opened its branch in Dubai in April 2006, which caters for the entire Middle East region. Recently, JBIC signed a business-partnership agreement with Qatar Petroleum (QP). Under the agreement, the JBIC will contribute by financing and extending loans for Qatar’s energy related projects which will provide opportunities and broaden the scope for Japanese companies to cooperate more actively in big projects for the further development of Qatar.

4. Presence of Japanese Companies in Doha

 There are 46 Japanese companies (as of October 2015) having their offices in Qatar, and playing an effective role in the development of Qatar’s industrial infrastructure in general, particularly the energy sector, including LNG industry, both in terms of construction and financing, is commendable.
 Some of big projects have been operated by Japanese Companies as below.

  • Qatargas, RasGas expansion: Chiyoda
  • Pearl GTL: JGC, Chiyoda, Toyo
  • Hamad International Airport: Taisei (Main terminal building), Takenaka(Emiry terminal building)
  • Ras Laffan-C IWPP: Mitsui
  • Mesaeide A IPP: Marubeni
  • Dome Metro: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corporation, Hitachi, Kinkisharyo, Fujita
  • Msheireb Project: Obayashi Corporation
  • Japanese companies will seek further business chances.

5. Shipping


 Besides, in transportation sector also, Japanese firms have been playing and will continue to play an important role in Qatari energy sector. No LNG can reach to consumers without capable vessels and their safe operation. Japanese shipping lines including NYK Lines, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Iino Shipping with their profound experience and expertise in the field of LNG transportation, has made it possible for those lines to serve as stakeholders and/or operators of Qatar’s first 10 vessels. As Qatari LNG export grows, getting closer to its target of 77mn tons per annum, Japanese shipping lines will continue to be important players, seeking further share in this sector.

6. FTA Negotiations

 One more important development during 2006 was the initiation of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between Japan and GCC. Both sides agreed in May 2006 to launch the negotiations. The first round of the negotiation was held in September in Tokyo and the second round of negotiations took place in Riyad in January 2007. Both sides are determined to speed up the negotiations to conclude an agreement at the earliest possible time. Signing of FTA will open the new dimensions of cooperation between Japan and GCC including Qatar.

 These are some of the glimpses of the relations between Japan and the State of Qatar, which I hope will be furthermore developed in future under the dynamic leadership of both countries.

Japan's Crude Oil Imports from Qatar (Yearly) : (source: Qatar National Bank)
  2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Qatar's Total production (Thousand brl / day) 779 810 819 837  
Japan's Total imports (Thousand brl / day) 467 510 442 453 433
Japan's share of total Qatar's Oil exports 59.9% 63.0% 54.0% 54.1%  

11.8% of total Japan's crude oil imports is from Qatar.
Qatar is the 3rd place country for Japan which provides crude oil.

Japan's LNG Imports fromQatar (Yearly)
Actual (SPA's and Spot) Mtpa 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Qatar's Total LNG Exports 22.2 25.1 27.4 30.4  
Qatargas LNG Co. 9.9 9.5 9.4 9.7  
Rasgas LNG Co. 12.3 15.6 18.0 20.7  
Japan's Total LNG Imports from Qatar 6.23 7.84 8.76 8.74 8.03
Japan's share of total Qatar's LNG exports 28.0% 31.2% 32.0% 28.8%  

11.8% of total Japan's LNG imports is from Qatar.
Qatar is the 4th place country for Japan which provides LNG.

Qatar Trade with Japan (source: Japan External Trade Organization)       (mn$)
  2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Qatar Exports 5,243 6,496 7,876 10,692 14,814 16,942 26,237 15,942
Qatar Imports 370 473 592 994 1,460 1,841 2,010 1,629
Total 5,613 6,969 8,469 11,686 16,274 16,274 28,247 17,571

Major portion of Japanese exports : vehicles, industrial materials, electric cables
Major portion of Japanese imports : crude oil, LNG, LPG

Number of Residents
 Number of Japanese Nationals residing in Qatar: about 1,104(as of  January 2010)

Japan-Qatar Relations (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)