Japan does not recognize Western Sahara as a state.
Rabat – Japan’s Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shinichi Nakatani, affirmed yesterday that Japan’s support for Morocco’s territorial integrity remains unchanged.
Nakatani is on an official visit to Rabat and has met with several government officials to discuss bilateral cooperation between Japan and Morocco.
The Japanese official reiterated his country’s unwavering position on Western Sahara and the self-styled Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) after meeting with Morocco’s Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs, Mohcine Jazouli.
“Japan has reaffirmed its non-recognition of any separatist entity relating to the Moroccan aspect of the Sahara,” Jazouli said during a press conference.
In August 2019, Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono stated that Japan does not recognize SADR as a state.
The FM made the remarks at the opening of the 7th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-VII), despite the invitation of a representative from the self-proclaimed SADR.
Director-General for the Middle East and North Africa at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Katsuhiko Takahashi, also clarified his position at TICAD-VII.
“Japan does not recognize Western Sahara as a state,” the official stated. “This is an unwavering and unchanging position. Japan does not intend to change it.”
The officials’ remarks came in response to a previous incident in October 2018, when a Moroccan delegation refused to take part in a ministerial preparatory meeting for TICAD-VII due to the presence of Polisario.
In December 2018, Kono expressed his regret for the confusion the episode had caused.
“Even if a group which claims itself as a state which Japan does not recognize was sitting in this room, this fact does not mean that Japan, in any way, implicitly or explicitly recognizes it as a state,” Kono affirmed during talks with Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.