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Japan and OPEC to start high-level dialogue after years of stalled talks

By nikkei

Japan and OPEC agreed Tuesday to establish a dialogue between senior officials as Tokyo makes new efforts for energy security.

Kei Takagi, Japan's parliamentary vice minister for foreign affairs, met for more than three hours with OPEC Secretary-General Haitham al-Ghais at the oil cartel's headquarters in Vienna. 

In future talks, senior officials from both sides will meet multiple times a year in alternating visits. 

Discussions have stalled for years between Japan and OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

But faced with competition from nonmember energy producers, OPEC has sought to improve ties with importing nations. OPEC has established frameworks for high-level dialogue with China and India too
"Dialogue between oil producing and oil consuming nations is mutually beneficial," Takagi told Nikkei following the meeting. "We need to bring our interaction with OPEC to a new level."

OPEC and Japan agreed to create a permanent line of communications and to expand working level discussions.

They also agreed to initiate personnel exchanges between Japan's Foreign Ministry and OPEC.

Takagi and al-Ghais also discussed the outlook for global energy supply and demand.

As far as the possibility of al-Ghais visiting Japan, Takagi said, "We are not at the stage where we can make an announcement, but the possibility is very high."