The Foreign Minister and I discussed practical ways in which we can promote our ties, including greater cooperation in the sciences, agriculture and hi-tech, greater exchanges in the field of culture, and even closer dialogue on international matters of mutual concern.
Statement by Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom after meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem
It is a pleasure to welcome my colleague, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura to Israel, and to Jerusalem.
Israel and Japan have much in common, despite the geographical distance between us. We are both ancient peoples who have risen from the ashes of the Second World War to build on the platform of our ancient cultures thriving, successful and advanced societies. This mutual success has been based not on the wealth of natural resources, but on the richness of our human resources.
Israel and Japan today enjoy warm and friendly relations. Our bilateral trade stands at 1.8 billion dollars per year, while the flow of official visits and exchanges is growing stronger all the time. Today, the Foreign Minister and I discussed practical ways in which we can promote these ties, including greater cooperation in the sciences, agriculture and hi-tech, greater exchanges in the field of culture, and even closer dialogue on international matters of mutual concern.
In this context, I reiterated Israel’s invitation to Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi to visit Israel in the near future. I also conveyed to my colleague Israel’s determination to increase our bilateral trade to 3 billion dollars within five years, and I welcome his agreement to this target. There is much untapped potential in the Israeli-Japanese relationship, and we are determined to use it.
I wish to thank the Minister publicly for his recent decision to amend Japan’s advisory to its citizens regarding travel to Israel. This decision will help both countries greatly in our efforts to foster greater trade and tourism ties, to the benefit of both peoples.
Israel attaches great importance to Japan’s voice on the international stage. As a member of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and as a member of the UN Security Council for the next two years, Japan has a particular responsibility to ensure a united and effective international effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Today we discussed the urgent importance of this effort.
Israel welcomes the ongoing interest in our region shown by the Japanese government, and we welcome Japan’s dedication and generous contribution to the advancement of peace in the Middle East.
In our discussions today I called on the Minister to convey to the Palestinian leadership Japan’s urgent call for Palestinian terrorism to end. The era of Palestinian excuses has ended. The time for action is now. The rocket and terror attacks on Israeli communities must stop.
Progress towards dialogue and peace will not be possible without consistent and effective Palestinian action on the ground to end the terror against Israel’s civilians. It is our hope that the visit of Foreign Minister Machimura will help bring the necessary actions, so that we can indeed proceed along the path to regional peace and prosperity that we seek.