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The American Jewish Community (AJC) visited Japan where they met with top government leaders and diplomats to bolster ties between Japan, Israel and the American Jewish community.

During the three-day trip, they met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu, and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa.

They also Tsuruga, the port city that welcomed Jewish refugees escaping the Nazis during World War II, thousands of whom were saved by Chiune Sugihara, the first Japanese diplomat stationed in Lithuania, who issued them transit visas to Japan.

“These frequent visits help strengthen ties with a key U.S. ally and one that has also become an ever-closer friend of Israel,” said AJC CEO David Harris, who has been visiting Tokyo since 1989 and has been honored by the Japanese government. “This historic partnership is one we value immensely, as it continues to bear fruit for an enhanced understanding of Japan, for the community of democracies, for Israel, and for Jews around the world.”

Noting that Israel and Japan are celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relations, AJC added that “the Japanese-Israeli link can be further widened and deepened going forward, with any number of overlapping political, security, and economic interests.”

At last year’s AJC Global Forum, then-Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide said: “Ties between Japan and the U.S. Jewish community have been an integral part of the strong alliance between the U.S. and Japan.”

AJC explained that it “played a singular role in encouraging Japan to end its adherence to the Arab boycott against Israel in the 1990s, as confirmed by the Japanese government.”

A senior Japanese official at the time was quoted as saying, “The new Japanese policy of opposing the Arab boycott of Israel was the result of five years of patient diplomacy by the American Jewish Committee.”