'Israel and Japan Both Threatened by Rogue States'

Israeli and Japanese PMs hail friendship and new era of bilateral ties during historic visit, noting mutual interests and threats.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Shinzo Abe, Binyamin Netanyahu
Shinzo Abe, Binyamin Netanyahu
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

As part of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's historic three-day visit to Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Abe at his Jerusalem office on Monday, where the two reaffirmed their pledges of bilateral cooperation.

Addressing Abe, Netanyahu said "your visit clearly demonstrates your own commitment to strengthening relationship between Israel and Japan. This is a commitment I fully share."

"In my visit to Japan, I was deeply impressed by the depth of your heritage, your embrace of your history and your culture, and yet at the same time, you’re looking forward to the future, to new developments, to technology," said Netanyahu. "This is very similar to our own experience and our own nature. We are two ancient peoples, part of our history and our heritage, and at the same time we are two modern, dynamic societies and we eagerly seek to blaze new paths to an advanced and innovative future for all of us and for all mankind."

Netanyahu also stressed that both Israel and Japan "are two peace loving democracies that face formidable threats from nearby rogue states. Both Iran and North Korea are governed by ruthless and extreme dictatorships, states that seek to bully and intimidate their neighbors, and in our case, to actually eradicate us from the face of the earth."

North Korea has previously threatened that if it decides to use its nuclear threat, Tokyo would be its first target.

"Iran and North Korea have aggressive military nuclear programs, and they are both developing nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, ballistic missiles," said Netanyahu.

While comparing the two states, he said Israel would welcome a peaceful resolution to Iran's nuclear program, but urged the world "not to repeat the mistake of the...agreement with Pyongyyang in 1994, (which) was widely celebrated as a historic breakthrough for nonproliferation, but in the end...failed to prevent the dangerous proliferation that threatens all of East Asia today."

Speaking about Israel's desire for peace, Netanyahu said "if we cannot defend our security against those who would threaten us and seek to attack us, and do attack us, then there will be no peace. Israel is adamant that it will have the right to defend itself against all those who wish to propagate terror and other attacks against its citizens, against its territory."

Remarking directly on the Palestinian Authority's (PA) suit against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC), he added "we will not have our hands ties by anyone, including the ICC. We will do what is necessary to defend ourselves wherever we need to do so."

Abe is visiting accompanied by 30 representatives of Japanese companies, with the advancement of mutual business and economic ties a key goal of the trip.

"There’s genius on the Japanese side, there’s genius on the Israeli side - a genius to forge a new future, to bring the heights of ingenuity to productive use for all societies," said Netanyahu. "Japan and Israel are partners; Japan and Israel are allies in seeking a better future; and Japan and Israel are friends."

A new era of Israel-Japan relations

Abe then spoke by expressing his country's "deepest condolences to the large number of victims, including Jewish citizens in the attack on the kosher store in Paris. The International community must continue with utmost effort, in order to deal with terrorism."

"The visit to Japan by his excellency Prime Minister Netanyahu last May triggered the momentum to enhance bilateral relationship to a comprehensive higher level," said Abe. "I surely feel that our relationships are deepening in all sorts of areas."

Indeed, Netanyahu's visit was followed by the signing of an Industrial R&D Agreement last July - the first such agreement Japan has signed, a visit last October by Japan's Deputy Foreign Minister, and an official Israeli delegation visit to Japan last November.

Looking forward, Abe said "taking this visit as another opportunity, we look forward to advancement in bilateral economic relationships, including expansion and reactivation of mutual exchanges between businesses."

Earlier this month the Israeli Cabinet approved a landmark plan by Netanyahu to expand ties with Japan in all fields, in a three-year project that represents an investment of millions of shekels and involves numerous governmental ministries.

"The three-year plan of Israel to strengthen our economic relationships is highly appreciated as a contribution to the development of our bilateral relations," remarked the Japanese prime minister.

"I have just visited Yad Vashem, the (Holocaust) museum, this year marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. I declare my determination that such tragedies should never ever be repeated," he said in a statement translated into English after touring the harrowing Yad Vashem memorial and museum. 

"Japan is determined to contribute even more proactively to world peace and stability.

"Today, I have learned how merciless humans can be by singling out a group of people and making that group the object of discrimination and hatred," he said.

Abe laid a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance and restoked the "eternal flame" as is customary for international leaders and diplomats visiting the site.  

He also paid tribute to late Japanese diplomat Chiune Sempo Sugihara, who is known one of the "righteous among the gentiles" who gave travel documents to some 3,500 Jews trying to escape the Nazi Holocaust while he was posted to Lithuania, and in whose honor a tree is planted at Yad Vashem.

"I strongly recognize the extraordinary contribution made by Vice-Consul Chiune Sugihara, who issued visas for life and saved thousands of Jewish lives. I have also reconfirmed the bonds and ties that existed from long ago between the Jewish and the Japanese."

"In March, last year, I visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Today, I find myself fully determined. The Holocaust, never again," Abe said.

"This year as we mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of Auschwitz, I make a pledge that we should never ever let such tragedies be repeated."

After visiting the memorial, Abe - the first Japanese premier to visit Israel in nine years - then held separate talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.

He will on Tuesday travel to Ramallah to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, thereby wrapping up his six-day tour of the region which began with a visit to Egypt and Jordan.

"Based on these bonds from times past from times past and based on your friendship, Japan will continue our endeavor to reinforce our relationship as a friend of Israel," promised Abe. "Japan will continue up our active engagement for the purpose of regional stability in the Middle East peace process and other efforts with the understanding on the difficult environment of Israel."

"We look forward to further develop and advance our bilateral relationships, and we look forward to creating a new era for our relationship."