Atsushi Suzuki / Mesaieed Power Company Ltd.
Qatar is an Islamic country with a population of approximately 1.6 million (as of the end of August, 2009). With an area roughly equivalent to that of Akita Prefecture in Japan, Qatar is a small country occupying the Qatar Peninsula, which extends from the larger Arabian Peninsula.
The national economy depends on natural gas and oil, and the per capita GDP which is based on oil money is one of the highest in the world. In spite of a slight slowdown resulting from the recent economic crisis, Qatar is developing rapidly, beginning with infrastructure.
Two and a half years on from my assignment here, the construction rush continues at such a pace that I discover a new building every time I visit the city.
The population has grown—from what I heard was just short of a million two and a half years ago—to its current level of 1.6 million. Similarly, the number of Japanese in Qatar has increased from what was said to be about a hundred ten years ago to more than a thousand today, and a Japanese school was established in 2009.
The population of Qatar comprises residents from countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Nepal who have come seeking work, and you can see these foreign nationals as you walk around the city.
As for the daily life in Qatar, it is a country of strict Islamic Wahhabi sect precepts, so it is forbidden to bring in pork or alcohol from abroad and a liquor permit is required to buy alcohol (there is only one store in the country where alcohol can be purchased). And of course there are many restrictions on eating habits as well.
The climate is also severe, with temperatures exceeding 50 °C in summer and frequent sandstorms that blanket the city. But people do get acclimated, and there are those who play golf under the scorching sun in the middle of these sandstorms.
Thanks to economic development, more and more new hotels and shopping centers have been built, and weekend activities have increased as well.
Lastly, I would like to describe Marubeni activities in Qatar. Marubeni has been active in Qatar for over thirty years, which is quite a long record, considering that Qatar gained independence as a nation in 1971.
Building on that substantial history, beginning with 21 employees on assignment in Qatar and adding family and contract workers, there are about 60 Japanese employees there. Factoring in all staff from over ten countries, there are about 170 employees working in the Marubeni Group. More than 150 people attend the magnificent annual Christmas Party, including all Marubeni group employees and their families, and it is an event that we all eagerly await.
Marubeni Group magazine "M-SPIRIT" VOL.55 (January, 2010)