UAE KP Chair discusses diamond industry issues with key Japanese jewellery retailers

DUBAI, 28th November, 2016 (WAM) — The UAE Kimberley Process Chair, KP Chair, Ahmed Bin Sulayem held discussions with senior representatives from Japan’s diamond trade industry regarding the issues the sector is facing and focussed on generating awareness and raising consumer confidence in the KP and the industry as a whole.

During his visit to Japan, the UAE KP Chair met officials from the Tokyo Diamond Exchange Club, including its President Michio Iwasaki and Secretary-General Yoshiaki Yamaka, and also met Nilam Alawdeen, Vice President of the Japan Gem Society. Bin Sulayem also held discussions with senior representatives from Japan’s leading jewellers, including Keita Nagahori, President of Nagahori; Masanobu Edisutani, Associate Director at Tasaki; Hisao Kato, Chairman of Kashikey; Yoshinobu Narukawa, President of Galart, and Ueno Kenji, GM of the Jewellery Division at Seiko.

“Consumers are naturally at the heart of the diamond supply chain because without them and their trust, the industry would not exist,” Bin Sulayem said. “Japan is the only high profile diamond consumer market where millennial ownership is considerably lower (31 percent) than older customers (66 percent). 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 livelihoods in source markets and strengthen consumer confidence in the sector by highlighting the efforts of the KP in ensuring that the diamond supply chain is operating in an ethical manner.”

Japan is the fourth largest consumer of diamonds in the world, behind the US, China and India. It made up 7 percent of the global diamond jewellery market share in 2014, amounting to US$5.8 billion, while 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 foundation of the broader industry through initiatives such as rough diamond valuation. As a result, seeking out ways to support major diamond-consuming markets appeal more effectively to customers while 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,” Bin Sulayem added.

“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,” he said.

The UAE KP Chair will next visit the Republic of Korea.