Saudi Arabia-Japan Business Forum for Saudi Arabia Vision 2030

September 2016

On September 1, JETRO held the “Saudi Arabia-Japan Business Forum for Saudi Arabia Vision 2030” in Tokyo on the occasion of a visit to Japan by top cabinet members of Saudi Arabia. It was joined by 532 participants from Japanese companies and related organizations. Speeches were given by Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qusaibi, two other ministers and two leading figures from Saudi Arabia, who introduced the national growth strategy “Vision 2030,” which is aimed at helping the country to depart from its heavy dependence on oil.

Hope for achievement of Vision 2030

“Saudi Arabia Vision 2030,” the forum’s theme, was announced as a long-term national strategy in April 2016 by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was also visiting Japan at the same time as the forum, and expresses Saudi Arabia’s goal of achieving sustainable growth through industries other than oil.

In the opening session, JETRO Chairman and CEO Hiroyuki Ishige stated that Japan, which imports 30% of its crude oil from Saudi Arabia, has maintained a deep relationship with the country, having just celebrated the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two sides last year. He also expressed his hope that Saudi Arabia will continue to grow and prosper through actualization of Vision 2030, an initiative which he said will benefit significantly from the technologies possessed by Japanese companies and the experience of JETRO.

After that, Hiroshige Seko, Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), delivered a speech on how Japan has been an excellent partner for Saudi Arabia by contributing to a wide range of fields including petroleum chemistry as well as automobiles, water processing and job training. He pointed out how recently elements of Japanese culture, such as karate, animation and washoku, have also been gaining popularity within Saudi Arabia, and that Japan has enough potential to contribute to new fields and financing in line with Vision 2030.

Opening remarks by JETRO Chairman Ishige

Speech by METI Minister Seko

Ceremonies for forging close relations

In the ceremony session, a catalog entitled “Japanese Strategic Partners for Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030” was presented to Commerce and Investment Minister Al-Qusaibi by President Kazuo Matsunaga of the Japan Cooperation Center for the Middle East (JCCME). The catalog includes a list of potential fields in which Japanese companies will be able to contribute. A commemorative photo was then taken with all participant CEOs.

Following the catalog presentation ceremony, Chairman Ishige received a renewal license for JETRO Riyadh issued by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) from Minister Al-Qusaibi. JETRO also took the opportunity to sign a new memorandum of cooperation with SAGIA.

Exchange ceremonies were also held for 11 MOUs recently concluded between companies and organizations from Saudi Arabia and Japan. They included the following fields: solar energy, energy efficiency, waste power generation, cultivation of industrial human resources, manufacture of synthetic resins, LP gas for emergency use, manufacture of pipelines and finance.

Ceremony session

Renewal license for JETRO Riyadh

“Diversification” and “privatization”: Keywords for Vision 2030

In the panel sessions moderated by Chairman and CEO Masakazu Toyoda of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, five panelists from the Saudi Arabian side illustrated the contents of Vision 2030, and responded to questions from participants.

According to the panelists, the keywords for Vision 2030 are “diversification” and “privatization,” and the plan includes the following activities:

  • Utilizing private sector companies in the fields of power generation and renewable energy
  • Drawing investment from foreign companies through reforming the business environment, including giving permission for companies with 100% foreign capital investment to enter the markets of retailing and logistics, and applying the principle of equality between foreign and domestic investors
  • Making an initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company, between 2017 and 2018

Panel sessions

A decline in the unemployment rate and women's participation in the working world are major issues in Saudi Arabia. In terms of “localization,” it is hoped that Japanese companies will cooperate in the following:

  • Fostering SMEs
  • Creating jobs
  • Creating educational opportunities
  • Providing job trainings
  • Promoting the establishment of a “telework” system

museums, video games and entertainment parks. As these industries include fields in which Japan possesses strength, the Saudi officials said they welcomed Japanese support in developing entertainment parks, translating contents of video games into Arabic and providing virtual reality technology for museums. Japanese companies were also requested to invest in Saudi Arabia’s military industry.

The forum ended with a closing address by JCCME President Kazuo Matsunaga, who stated that, as strategic partners of Saudi Arabia, Japanese companies can give the country the tools it needs to achieve “Vision 2030” through a variety of solutions, and emphasized the need to further strengthen the relationship between both countries. In line with this sentiment, JETRO will continue to disseminate information on business trends in Saudi Arabia and other countries of the Middle East, as well as to work toward strengthening relationships between the region and Japan.


Theme Saudi Arabia-Japan Business Forum for Saudi Arabia Vision 2030
Organizer Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Japan Cooperation Center for the Middle East (JCCME)
Supporter Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Date September 1, 2016
Venue Hotel Okura Tokyo
  • Opening session
    • Opening address by Hiroyuki Ishige, Chairman and CEO, JETRO
    • Remarks by Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
  • Ceremony session
    • Handover of the booklet “Japanese Strategic Partners for Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030”
    • Ceremony for license renewal of JETRO Riyadh
    • Exchange ceremony of MOUs between the Saudi Arabian and Japanese sides
  • Panel session: "New Developments in Asia-Pacific Economic Integration"
    Moderator: Masakazu Toyoda, Chairman and CEO, Institute of Energy Economics
    • Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, Minister of Commerce and Investment
    • Eng. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Faleh, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources
    • Dr. Mufrej bin Saad Al-Haqbani, Minister of Labor and Social Development
    • Ahmed Agil Fahad Alkhateeb, Chairman of the General Authority for Entertainment
    • Yasir bin Othman Al-Rumayyan, Managing Director and Secretary-General of the Board at Public Investment Fund
  • Closing address by Kazuo Matsunaga, President, JCCME