Former first lady of Qatar Sheikha Moza bint Nasser is nearing the end of a five-day tour of Japan, a visit which is aimed at increasing collaboration between the east Asian nation and Qatar Foundation (QF), of which she is chairperson.
Sheikha Moza’s tour has included visits to Sony’s Headquarters, Kyoto University’s Stem Cell Research Center, and a number of other high-profile scientific research centers including Japan’s National Institute of Informatics, the University of Tokyo and Keio University.
Speaking after a reception with the governor of Kyoto, she said she hoped the visit would spark increased collaboration between scientists in the two countries:
“I am confident that the discussions the Qatar Foundation has held this week with Japanese institutes will launch the next phase in our relationship. A phase that will result in collaborations in a wide range of innovative research and technology fields that will be of tremendous benefit to both our countries,” she said.
Sheikha Moza has also met with Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, during the visit – a meeting dominated by talks about cooperation “in the fields of science, technology and medical care,” according to a statement from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
QF’s president of Research and Development, Faisal Alsuwaidi, and a delegation from the Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI) have also traveled to Japan – a further sign of the country’s ambitions to develop its relationship with the country, which Sheikha Moza described as “a friendship based on mutual respect and trust.”
A special relationship
As a reflection of this friendship, the former first lady was also invited to take tea with the Emperor and his wife during her visit.
Efforts to develop strong business and cultural ties between the two countries have continued for many years.
Already major trade partners, Japan imports a significant amount of its liquid natural gas (LNG) from Qatar.
Qatar also stepped in to offer support to Japan after the earthquake and tsunami that struck the country in March 2011, by establishing the Qatar Friendship Fund (QFF).
Sheikha Moza told Japanese officials this week that the fund had “supported thousands of victims across the most affected areas, through a range of sustainable projects in education, health care and fisheries.”
The Sheikha’s tour comes less than a year after a visit to Qatar by the Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, during which he spoke of a partnership “for stability and prosperity” between the two countries.
He also signed a memorandum of understanding during his visit, promising to expand cooperation on energy, education, technology, and culture exchange.