• Kyodo


The Israeli Cabinet has approved a plan to expand economic relations and cooperation with Japan that calls for a 45 percent rise in Japanese tourists by 2017 and a 50 percent increase in Japan-bound exports to $1.1 billion per year by 2020.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted that the plan, endorsed Sunday, is intended to diversify the Israeli economy. “The state of Israel must vary the markets in which we are active,” he said in a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The plan includes the opening of a trade office in Osaka and increased collaboration in science research, transportation technologies and infrastructure.

It comes ahead of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s trip to Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territory for talks with top leaders from Jan. 16 to 21.

Israel’s exports to Japan have remained stagnant, totaling $720 million in 2013, consisting mainly of machine tools, electric equipment, medical devices and chemical products among others, according to the Prime Minister’s Office. Japan accounts for around 1.3 percent of overall Israeli commercial exports, it said.

The office noted demand in Japan for Israeli technologies in areas such as pharmacology, agriculture, cyber and information security and green energy.