TEHRAN – A senior research fellow at the Institute of Energy and Economics Japan says that Tokyo has collaborated with Iran in fighting COVID-19 by sending vaccines produced in Japan.“Japan provided Iran with 2.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccinations manufactured in Japan,” Sachi Sakanashi tells the Tehran Times.
Iran-Japan ties are a deep-rooted one that dates back to 92 years ago but it consolidated when Japan started to import oil from Iran in the 1950s.
As an oil-hungry island nation, Japan’s position on Iran has been fraught with inherent tensions. It has to balance relations with Iran and the United States.
“U.S. sanctions affected the oil trade greatly because the U.S. used it as a weapon to fight against Iran,” Sakanashi notes.
“It was as if the U.S. took Iranian oil as a hostage and demanded foreign banks to pay a ransom if they wanted to get it back.”
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: Could you update us about the history of Iran-Japan ties?
A: Japan established its diplomatic relations with Iran in 1929, which is 92 years ago. Japan started to import oil from Iran in the 1950s and since then, Japan’s relations with Iran have centered on oil.
However, our relations actually date back to centuries ago, when many elements of Persian culture were brought to Japan through the Silk Road. Japanese people have traditionally shown great respect towards Persian culture.
Q: What are the main areas of trade between Iran and Japan? And how have the American sanctions affected it?
A: The main field was oil as I mentioned in the answer to the first question. We imported oil from Iran and exported cars and machinery in return, but our oil import from Iran has far exceeded the amount of our export to Iran.
U.S. sanctions affected the oil trade greatly because the U.S. used it as a weapon to fight against Iran. It was as if the U.S. took Iranian oil as a hostage and demanded foreign banks to pay a ransom if they wanted to get it back. The U.S. sanctions worked and Japan did not import Iranian oil in 2020.
Q: What is your prediction of Tehran-Tokyo relations now that Ibrahim Raisi has taken power in Iran?
A: We are hoping that the Vienna negotiations will start again soon so that the sanctions will be lifted and we can start trading again.
Q: What are Japan’s collaborations with Iran in terms of fighting COVID-19?
A: Japan provided Iran with 2.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines manufactured in Japan.
Q: How is Iran viewed in Japan? As a Japanese researcher who lived in Iran, how do you describe the Iranian culture?
A: As I mentioned already, Japanese people have shown great respect towards the Iranian culture. For me, the Iranian culture is very rich in the sense that it consists of diverse elements, each of which has its own history.
The Iranian culture is full of wonder and beauty that encompasses all the realities and contradictions that we could think of. My work as a researcher is like a journey to reach a sound understanding of the Iranian culture, whose various aspects have fascinated me in each step that I have taken.
Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/465120/Japan-provided-Iran-with-2-9-million-doses-of-COVID-19-vaccines