Japan, Israel agree to boost military strategic cooperation

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

PanOrient News
By Khaldon Azhari

TOKYO: Japan Defense Minister HAMADA Yasukazu met with Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benjamin Gantz on Tuesday and agreed to boost military information exchanges and strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and Middle East regions.

At the Ministry of Defense building in central Tokyo, the ministers signed the recently revised “Memorandum on Defense Exchanges between the Ministry of Defense of Japan and the Ministry of Defense of the State of Israel.”

At the signing ceremony, Hamada said exchanges between the two countries have progressed significantly with growing cooperation in new fields such as defense equipment and technology, as well as anti-missile technology. He said that, taking advantage of the newly signed memorandum, Japan would like to further deepen and develop military cooperation and exchanges with Israel.

“We open the doors to technological cooperation, information sharing, military-to-military activities and industrial ventures,” Gantz responded.

“Today, two ancient nations, followers of democracy and engines of invention, embark upon a new adventure, a partnership based on trust” between our countries taking things to the strategic level.”

The Japanese Defense Minister, Hamada, said his country is making great efforts to uphold and reinforce a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” and stated that this vision will contribute to the development of the Middle East. He added that peace and stability in the Middle East brings peace and prosperity for Japan, and Israel is very important in that effort.

Gantz said the strategic partnership Japan and Israel are building comes at a critical time in history, a time of both challenges and opportunities. He said that in the aftermath of the global pandemic and the war in the Ukraine, one could see that each country must be prepared to defend itself; that alliances must be strengthened; that security is also a matter of food and energy supplies as well as economic stability; and that these issues require close cooperation among partners.

Gantz was critical of Iran, saying that global stability and regional peace are threatened by Iran’s nuclear program and regional aggression. He said he had just returned from a visit to Israel's and Japan's common ally, the United States, where he discussed with the Americans the nuclear arrangement with Iran. He said that this threat requires a united international front led by the United States.

But, he added, there are also positive changes happening in the Middle East and activities to advance this, such as the Abrahamic accords, will have positive effects that will radiate to the Indo-Pacific. Gantz said it was a great opportunity for him to thank the Minister (Hamada) for Japan’s great contribution to peace and stability in the Middle East region through peace-keeping missions and economic investment, noting how the global economic landscape is changing and that when positive and negative powers compete, it is vital for all nations to be able to distinguish them objectively.

The ministers exchanged congratulations on the 70th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries and agreed to continue working closely together.

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