JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, said Monday their two countries will strengthen cooperation in countering cyberattacks and promote exchanges between defense officials.
The leaders, meeting in Jerusalem for a second straight day, also reaffirmed close cooperation regarding peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions.
Israel has been pursuing human resource development in the cyber arena and last November the two countries held their first cybersecurity talks in Tokyo.
The Abe administration is keen to enhance Japan’s ability to combat cyberattacks in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“The two countries are deepening relations in various fields,” Abe said at a joint news conference with Netanyahu. “We will try to strengthen relations with Israel as a true friend.”
Netanyahu pledged to do the same, saying the two countries are capable of shaping a new future.
In the economic field, Abe and Netanyahu confirmed that the two countries will aim to begin preparatory talks soon for signing an investment accord, according to Japanese officials.
On Sunday, the two leaders agreed to jointly enhance counterterrorism measures amid heightened threats around the world.
Earlier in the day, Abe said Japan is committed to working for Middle East peace during a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem.
“Japan is determined to contribute even more proactively to world peace and stability,” he said in a statement translated into English after touring the harrowing memorial.
“Today, I have learned how merciless humans can be by singling out a group of people and making that group the object of discrimination and hatred,” he said.
Abe laid a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance and re-stoked the “eternal flame,” as is customary for international leaders and diplomats visiting the site.
He also paid tribute to late Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, who is known one of the “righteous among the gentiles.” He gave travel documents to some 3,500 Jews trying to escape the Nazi Holocaust while he was posted to Lithuania, and in whose honor a tree is planted at Yad Vashem.
“In March, last year, I visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Today, I find myself fully determined. The Holocaust, never again,” Abe said.
“This year as we mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of Auschwitz, I make a pledge that we should never ever let such tragedies be repeated.”
After visiting the memorial, Abe — the first Japanese prime ministers to visit Israel in nine years — held separate talks with Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.
He was scheduled to travel Tuesday to the West Bank to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, his last stop on a six-day tour of the region which began with a visit to Egypt and Jordan.