President Saleh’s Next Travel Abroad: MID-MARCH TRIP TO TOKYO [Archives:1999/03/Front Page]

January 18 1999

Japanese Ambassador to Yemen, Mr. Akira Hoshi, left Sanaa on January 14th on a 2-week consultations visit to Tokyo. The main item on his agenda is the forthcoming official visit of President Ali Abdullah Saleh to Japan.
Plans for the trip had started a year ago, but have recently intensified. “Both the Yemeni and Japanese sides are keenly interested in making the trip a success. I think this visit will be watershed in the bilateral relations,” said Abdul-Rahman Al-Hothi, Yemen’s Ambassador in Japan. Both ambassadors have been preparing details of possible meetings and protocols to be signed during the visit.
The high point of the trip is a lunch to be hosted by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan and a dinner to be hosted by the Prime Minister.
According to Yemen Times information, the Japanese side is still waiting for the Yemeni authorities to pin down the exact dates of the visit, although a general time-frame of mid-March, 1999 has been agreed upon for the four-day visit.
Another details of the trip that Yemen has yet to determine is the composition of the delegation that will accompany the president. Yemen Times learned that there will be an official delegation of twelve persons. But the total number of the entourage to accompany the Yemeni head of the state is estimated to be excess of 65 persons.
The official delegation is expected to include 3 ministers – foreign affairs, planning and development, and industry; 2 deputy ministers – health and trade; 4 members of parliament/Consultative Council, in addition to the secretary-general of the President’s Office.
The entourage accompanying the president, which will not participate in the official talks, is going to be made up of four blocks.
There are about 15 businessmen representing companies with links to Japan. Then there are nine to ten representatives of the Yemeni media. In addition, there are the protocol and governmental support staff. Finally, there are the presidential security and airplane staff.
Japan is one of the 3 top aid partners of the Republic of Yemen, along with the Federal Republic of Germany and the Netherlands. Its annual aid allocations to Yemen hovers around US$ 30 million, depending on the exchange rate between the yen and the dollar.
Japanese assistance to Yemen is focussed on 3 sectors – health, education/training, and infrastructure. In addition, there is a substantial on-going annual aid relief program.
Finally, Japan has steadily expanded its financing of small-scale grass-roots level projects in Yemen. This is administered by the embassy in Sanaa and is implemented in cooperation with local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
Political cooperation and understanding between the 2 countries has also been growing. Japan continues to give full support to Yemen’s democratic transformation. “We follow very closely this positive change in your country, and we admire the progress made so far,” said Ambassador Hoshi.
On its part, Yemen supports Japan’s drive towards acquiring a permanent seat at the Security Council of the UN.
Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf,
Chief Editor, Yemen Times