Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Monday with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, who extended condolences for last week’s murder of three people by a terrorist in Jerusalem.

The two leaders discussed the importance of advancing bilateral relations, in particular by deepening economic and security ties.

Netanyahu and Kishida also paid tribute to this year’s 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between their countries.

The Israeli premier invited Kishida to visit Israel.

Jerusalem and Tokyo agreed in November to move towards signing a free trade agreement, which then-Prime Minister Yair Lapid said would entail “discounts for products and goods from Japan for the benefit of the Israeli market and increasing Israeli exports to Japan, the third-largest economy in the world.”

The last FTA Israel signed was its first with an Asian country. On Sept. 27, it ratified a free trade agreement with South Korea.

Then-Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz and Japanese Minister of Defense Yasukazu Hamada signed a “Memorandum for Defense Cooperation” at the Japanese Ministry of Defense in August.

The following month, Tokyo announced plans to deploy Israeli- and U.S.-made attack drones in 2023 to defend isolated islands. The American-made Switchblade and the Israel Aerospace Industries’ Harop drone are expected to be deployed.


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