TOKYO: Taro Kono, the defense minister of Japan, said that threats to his country’s oil supply was the “most worrying scenario” he could imagine in international relations, in the wake of attacks on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities.
“The most pessimistic scenario right now is that something happens in the Straits of Hormuz and the oil supply gets cut down, and that would send a shock wave through the global economy. I think the price of oil is already rising after this attack on Saudi facilities, so that’s the most worrying scenario right now,” he told a conference in Tokyo, Japan.
However, speaking on the sidelines to Arab News, he insisted that Saudi Arabia would remain a reliable partner of Japan – which imports around 40 per cent of its crude from the Kingdom – and downplayed concerns about long-term supply problems.
“Saudi has been and will be an important source of our energy supply. We have international co-ordination, and we have reserves, so we are not really worried about that,” he said.
Kono, who was until recently Japan’s foreign minister, said that his country would be seeking to promote diplomatic solutions to the latest Middle East conflagration. “We definitely need to ease the tension between those countries. As Foreign Minister, the last thing I was doing was calling the Iranian Foreign Minister and the French Foreign Minister to ease the tension the region through diplomatic actions, and I think it’s important to continue doing it.
“This Houthi attack on Saudi is a little different, because it’s a terrorist attack. I think we may require some kind of military operation against those drone attacks, and that’s something out of Japan’s constitutional boundary. I think Japan will be focusing on diplomatic efforts in easing tension in the region.”
He raised concerns about the apparent lack of sophistication in the recent attacks. “If it is really drones, that is a lot cheaper than any form of conventional missile,” he said.