Japan’s Energy Security in the Persian Gulf: Caught Between New and Old Challenges

Focus Asia June, 2024

The goal of this paper is to investigate the evolution of Japan’s energy strategy in the Persian Gulf and understand how intra-Asian competition for business opportunities in the region can impact Tokyo’s energy security. It analyzes the current state of defense cooperation agreements (DCAs) between leading East Asian and Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC). DCAs are considered among the most relevant tools available to states to build up strategic partnerships. Successful DCAs with GCC states are therefore an indicator of political and security commitment. The research analysis concludes that Japan has yet to engage with Gulf countries—let alone catch up with other East Asian powerhouses—on security partnerships. Consequently, Japan is likely to miss the opportunity to foster deeper engagements with key GCC oil and gas suppliers and suffer growing energy insecurity as a result.

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