Remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan at Economic Forum
Photo by Amos Ben Gershom, GPO      


Prime Minister Netanyahu:

Prime Minister Abe,
It is a pleasure to be with you here in Jerusalem with your distinguished delegation, and I’ll be happy in the next days to reciprocate the warm reception you gave me and my delegation in Japan.

I said then, I said now in a meeting with some of the leaders here, with Prime Minister Abe: The future belongs to those who innovate.
Japan is a country of innovation; Israel is a country of innovation. Together we can do a lot more and gain a lot more.
Your visit here, Prime Minster, clearly demonstrates your commitment to this idea and your commitment to strengthening the partnership between Israel and japan in so many areas.
I believe that Israel, in turn, must diversify its markets to include Japan and the other great economies of Asia.
That’s why your visit here, which I believe is historic, is important for both our countries.

We have with us business leaders from Japan and Israel. They are here for the same reason that we are here. We all understand that there is great untapped potential in our relations. Our bilateral trade can grow rapidly. So can investments, joint ventures and exchanges of technology.

The Prime Minister and I just saw a demonstration of Israeli technology. It covers all fields. There’s a lot of synthesis; there’s a lot of creativity. And I believe that if we enhance your creativity and our creativity by joining forces, we can exploit the proven capabilities of our two economies and the genius of our two peoples.
Japan has outstanding industry, advanced science, renowned quality control, remarkable ideas and massive global reach.
Israel has had a record of innovative and creative thinking, which has led to countless original ideas and products.

I spoke to the Prime Minister about one area that is reshaping our world: cyber security. It’s a subject that’s been in the news recently, and for good reason. As the internet economy grows, the need for cyber security grows.
Israel receives, despite the fact that we’re only a country of a few million people, we receive almost 10%, almost 10% of the investment in cyber security start-ups. This is a vast multiple over our relative proportion in the world’s population.

We welcome you in this field; we welcome you in any field to cooperate for the betterment of mankind and also for the profitability of your companies and ours and for the prosperity of the people of Japan and the people of Israel.
I think we can agree that even though some companies have been here, Japanese companies, and I was delighted to hear about their activity here in Israel, I think we can agree, Prime Minister, that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the potential for cooperation in our relationship.

The government of Israel understands this and this is why a few weeks ago we approved a plan to strengthen our economic ties with Japan. This plan outlines a roadmap for enhancing cooperation between our two countries. We’re investing tens of millions of shekels over the next three years to strengthen the Israeli-Japanese partnership.

Among the steps that were approved by the Cabinet was opening a trade office in Osaka, in addition to the existing offices in Tokyo; and also increasing the number of commercial attachés in Japan; broadening Israeli companies’ exposure to Japanese firms and vice-versa. We want to advance negotiations on bilateral agreements to encourage and protect investment, and to increase research grants by 50% this year, in 2015.

There are many things that we can do, many more things available to us. The sky’s the limit, and we don’t need to stop in the sky. We can go higher, into higher and higher plains of cooperation.
I think, Prime Minister, that we all understand this: we live in a knowledge century. The way to succeed is through constant innovation. It never stops. You can never rest on your laurels.
Innovation creates competitive advantage, and the lack of innovation creates competitive disadvantage. We have to consistently turn the wheel of creativity. It’s the only way to consistently add value to our products and services.

Once again, the future belongs to those companies and those countries that are on the cutting edge of technological innovation.
Israel is on that cutting edge; japan is on that cutting edge. And I think that some countries have realized this and are tapping in to this creativity. That’s why I think, Prime Minister Abe that your wise decision to make sure that leading Japanese companies are represented here, that Japan and it technological prowess is represented here. I think this is a very, very good decision for Japan and it’s a very, very good decision for Israel. This is why I’m so happy, Prime Minister, to welcome you here with your colleagues. We welcome you with open arms.

Welcome to Israel.
Thank you.

Prime Minister Abe:
His Excellency Prime Minister Netanyahu, distinguished members of business communities of both Japan and Israel, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to have this opportunity to share my views with you all here, the business leaders of both Japan and Israel today.
Japan and Israel, both of the countries don’t have that much of the natural resources. But what we have is the human resources and also the key word that we share is innovation. This has been the key for us to open up the future.
Bilateral ties between Japan and Israel are now deepening in every field. Most recently, the Government of Israel just made a cabinet decision on the plan to strengthen economic ties with Japan. These developments in our economic relations are eye opening and also attract so much attention.

It is said that hundreds of world leading global firms featuring cutting edge technologies now have their R&D bases in Israel.
If those companies are asked a question why they invest in Israel, then they will ask you, why not investing in Israel. And it is fair to say that without Israel, we cannot [inaudible] innovation.
We just had [inaudible] experience looking at the cutting edge technology as well as the innovation that Israel is proud of, with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

There is the handy type [?] scanner that was immediately analyzed, the composition of the food as well as other medicines.
That was quite surprising to me, and also what I found very interesting was this certain device that can tell you how the brains is actually functioning.

Maybe with this new technology we may be able to understand what people are thinking by utilizing this new device.
If Japan is the first to develop and utilize this new technology, then at the summit meeting that I’m going to have with Prime Minister Netanyahu tomorrow, maybe Japan will have the competitive edge.
I also had the experience of seeing the ReWalk system and that would actually change the life of the people in quite a positive manner. We also had the opportunity to see the [unclear]-based battery and that actually would change the entire society in terms of our technology.

Israel is a country where hundreds of new corporations start up their business every year in areas such as ICT, medical services and agriculture, and also produce innovative technologies. And for Japan, innovation is the engine of our economy. Taking both into account there is every reason for Japan to cooperate with this great nation.
The Government of Japan dispatched the Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry to Israel last summer when we concluded a memorandum of understanding to promote industrial R&D cooperation. Based on this arrangement, corporations of both Japan and Israel are now entitled to receive support from the government when they implement R&D cooperation. If this is of interest to you, please contact NEDO, New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization.

I would also like to draw your attention to today’s signing of the memorandum of understanding between JST, Japan Science and Technology Agency and the Israeli Ministry of Science, technology and Space. Based on the new agreement and arrangement they will initiate ICT cooperation.

We are now positioning ourselves in the major trend of marking a turning point in our economic relations, and I sincerely hope that today’s forum will serve as a useful venue for the business leaders of both countries to exchange their views and also to get to know more about each other. And I also hope that this venue would contribute to the further development of the economies of Japan and Israel.
Thank you very much.