Abe, Netanyahu agree to join hands on defense, Internet security

by Mizuho Aoki

Staff Writer

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu agreed in Tokyo Monday to bolster bilateral defense cooperation, including in cyberspace.

Abe also urged Netanyahu to resume peace negotiations with the Palestinians after nine months of U.S.-led efforts froze up last month.

“The earliest resumption of the suspended peace negotiations will benefit both parties,” Abe said. “Maximum self-restraint is needed so as not to take unilateral measures including settlement activities, which would serve as an impediment to negotiations.”

Netanyahu meanwhile called on the international community to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program. Talks involving six countries and Iran are set to begin in Vienna on Wednesday to reach a full deal on placing long-term restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities.

Iranian nuclear weapons would pose a grave danger to world peace, and they should not let that happen, Netanyahu said.

“Alongside our hopes for a more peaceful and prosperous world, we also know Japan and I face common challenges,” Netanyahu said at a joint news conference after the meeting with Abe. “First among them is the threat posed by rogue states arming themselves with a nuclear weapons.”

In a joint statement the two leaders signed after more than an hour of talking at the prime minister’s office, they agreed to hold talks between their national security organs in Israel, and to increase exchanges of defense authorities.

They also agreed to promote cooperation in cybersecurity, which Israel excels in.

“I am determined, together with Prime Minister Netanyahu, to make further efforts to strengthen Japan-Israel relations, so that the potentials are fully materialized,” Abe said.

The two leaders confirmed their intent to bolster economic cooperation on investment and joint industrial research and development.

Praising Japan’s advanced technology and innovations, Netanyahu stressed that both nations can prosper even more by joining hands in R&D.

“Japan is a global industrial and technological power. And it’s a world leader in innovation. Israel is smaller, but it is also a global center of innovation and creativity,” said Netanyahu. “And I’m convinced that by systematically pulling our resources together . . . we can make both our countries more prosperous and even more advanced.”

Netanyahu, who arrived on Sunday afternoon, is expected to meet with Japanese business and government leaders during his five-day visit. He also plans to visit Kyoto on Wednesday before leaving Japan on Thursday night.

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