The UAE Kimberley Process Chair (KP Chair), Ahmed Bin Sulayem, has travelled to Japan to meet with senior representatives from the country’s diamond trade industry. The goal of the discussions was to determine how these organisations can focus on generating awareness and raising consumer confidence in the KP and the broader diamond industry.
The KP Chair met with officials from the Tokyo Diamond Exchange Club – including the President, Michio Iwasaki, and the Secretary General, Yoshiaki Yamaka – and with the Vice President of the Japan Gem Society, Nilam Alawdeen. In addition, discussions were held with senior representatives from Japan’s leading jewellers including President of Nagahori, Keita Nagahori; Associate Director at Tasaki, Masanobu Edisutani; Chairman of Kashikey, Hisao Kato; President of Galart, Yoshinobu Narukawa; and GM of the Jewelery Division at Seiko, Ueno Kenji.
“Consumers are naturally at the heart of the diamond supply chain, because without them and their trust, the industry would not exist,” said Mr. Bin Sulayem. “Japan is the only high profile diamond consumer market where millennial ownership is considerably lower (31%) than older customers (66%). As the former group buys the most diamonds on average globally, there is clearly substantial scope to raise awareness for the value of and confidence in these gems. One way to do this is to show the role the diamond industry plays in supporting livehoods in source markets and strengthen consumer confidence in the sector by highlighting the efforts of the KP in ensuring the diamond supply chain is operating in an ethical manner.”
Japan is the fourth largest consumer of diamonds in the world behind US, China and India. It made up 7% of the global diamond jewellery market share in 2014, amounting to $5.8 billion; meanwhile, it imported $18.3 million in rough diamonds in 2015.
“While the KP’s primary function is to stem the flow of conflict diamonds, over the past year, we have also sought to strengthen the foundations of the broader industry through initiatives such as rough diamond valuation. As a result, seeking out ways we can support major diamond consuming markets appeal more effectively to customers by countering misconceptions about the industry is another area where we believe we can add value. This is why we are actively working with the representatives of the Japanese diamond industry to discuss ways we can educate the public about initiatives such as the establishment of a Permanent UN Secretariat and a common NGO fund,” added Mr. Bin Sulayem.
“With this in mind, we are pleased with the discussions that have taken place this week with the major stakeholders in the country. Japan has always been – and will remain – one of the most important diamond consuming nations in the world and the ongoing demand in this market is critical to the long-term sustainability in the diamond industry, which is an issue all stakeholders must work together collectively to address.”
Following discussions in Japan, the UAE KP Chair will visit the Republic of Korea.