• Kyodo

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Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi is considering visiting Israel and Gaza in August, diplomatic sources said Saturday.

During the trip, Motegi would look to build a relationship with the Israeli government under new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and offer assistance to reconstruct Gaza following last month’s bombing by Israel, according to the sources.

It would be the first trip such trip by a Japanese foreign minister since Motegi’s predecessor, Taro Kono, visited in December 2017.

Motegi will make a decision regarding the visit after assessing the situation, as Israel bombed Gaza again this month following the cease-fire agreed with the Hamas militant group in late May, the sources said.

He will consider visiting other states in the Middle East if he is able to schedule meetings after the Tokyo Olympics, to be held from July 23 to Aug. 8, they said.

During the envisaged visit, Motegi plans to call for the cease-fire to continue and the building of trust between the two sides. He also plans to express Tokyo’s intention to help rebuild infrastructure in Gaza.

Motegi is scheduled to visit the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania after he attends the Group of 20 foreign ministers’ gathering in Italy on Tuesday.

The Foreign Ministry is also coordinating planned visits to Cuba, Guatemala, Jamaica and Panama in mid-July, according to the sources.

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