Japanese Foreign Minister to visit Israel

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono to make six-day trip to the Middle East, meet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Ben Ariel,

Taro Kono
Taro Kono

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono will make a six-day trip to the Middle East from Sunday, in order to reaffirm Tokyo's role to push forward the Israel-Palestinian Authority (PA) peace process, the Kyodo news agency reports.

Kono’s visit follows U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

During the visit, Kono is expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and with Riyad al-Malki, the PA official in charge of foreign affairs. Foreign Ministry officials told Kyodo that a meeting with PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas is also being arranged.

Japan supports a two-state solution to the conflict and that the final status issues of Jerusalem should be settled through negotiations between the parties involved, the news agency noted.

Kono’s visit follows Thursday’s vote at the UN General Assembly against the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 128 countries voted in favor of the motion, Japan being one of them.

Kono plans to visit Jericho on Tuesday and is expected to announce a plan to upgrade an agro-industrial park project, a centerpiece of the "Corridor for Peace and Prosperity" development concept involving both Israel and the PA along with Japan and Jordan, according to Kyodo.

The Japanese Foreign Minister will then head to the Jordanian capital Amman, where he is expected to hold talks with his counterpart Ayman Safadi on Tuesday on how to expand bilateral ties, including support for the influx to Jordan of refugees from neighboring Syria.

On Wednesday, Kono is scheduled to meet in Oman and will visit Turkey on Thursday.

Israel and Japan celebrated 65 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries this past summer.

In 2015, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Israel.