Japan reaffirmed its steady position on the Sahara issue making it clear that it has never and will never recognize the Polisario separatist entity.

“Tokyo backs UN Security Council Resolutions,” said Japanese ambassador to Morocco Takuji Hanatani after talks with Lower House Speaker Habib El Malki.

Japan’s position on the conflict remains “unchanged”, insisted the diplomat.

He recalled that Japan never invites the Polisario entity to international events including the conference on Africa’s development in Tokyo.

Only the countries recognized at the international level as members of the African Union will attend the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) due in Yokohama Aug.28-30, underlined the Japanese ambassador.

In 2017, some pro-separatist states tried to impose Polisario participation in TICAD preparatory meetings, but the Japanese foreign ministry responded in a strong worded statement making it clear that “Japan does not recognize ‘Western Sahara’ as a state, either explicitly or tacitly”.

Japan supports calls by King Mohammed VI for dialogue between Morocco and Algeria, said the Japanese Ambassador who voiced “hope to see bilateral relations improve between the two countries leading to a settlement of the (Sahara) issue.”

Separately, Takuji Hanatani highlighted the investment opportunities offered in Morocco to Japanese businesses which can capitalize on Morocco’s assets as a gateway to Africa.

Currently, 68 Japanese enterprises operate in Morocco employing 40,000 people as the North African country offered competitive advantages and win-win partnerships.