Israeli and Japanese prime ministers seek greater economic cooperation

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Israel. Credit: Israel Hayom video screenshot.

( Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both expressed the desire for their countries to have increased economic collaboration upon Abe’s visit to Israel this week.

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

Netanyahu said the room for cooperation between Israel and Japan “is vast.”

“The opportunities are immense, the enthusiasm is great, because 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 or all societies, for better communications physically, literally, for the application of medicine and medical devices to better human life, for greater productivity in human effort,” said Netanyahu.

Israel’s trade relationship with Japan, the world’s third-largest economy behind the U.S. and China, has stagnated in recent years, with trade only amounting to around $720 million. But as Israel’s ties with the European Union, the Jewish state’s largest trading partner, grow more strained over increasing calls in Europe for Palestinian statehood and sanctions against Israel’s presence in the disputed territories, Israel is turning towards new markets for growth. 

The Israeli government recently approved a plan to strengthen economic ties between the Jewish state and Japan over the next three years.

“The three-year plan of Israel to strengthen our economic relationships is highly appreciated as a contribution to the development of our bilateral relations,” Abe said.

Posted on January 19, 2015 .