Yair Lapid arrives in Tokyo, meets with FM, defense minister

The meetings in Tokyo showcased Lapid’s ability to talk to the world on a day when Netanyahu is in Ukraine.

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August 19, 2019 18:40
1 minute read.
Yair Lapid with Japanese foreign minister Tarō Kōno, August 2019

Yair Lapid with Japanese foreign minister Tarō Kōno, August 2019. (photo credit: YAIR ZIVAN)

Blue and White co-candidate for prime minister Yair Lapid met with Japanese foreign minister Tarō Kōno and defense minister Takeshi Iwaya in Tokyo on Monday.

The meetings happened a month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu upset the Japanese by cancelling a planned July 29 meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe 10 days before it was set to take place. Netanyahu had requested the meeting, and the Japanese were going out of their way to facilitate it before the cancellation.

The meetings in Tokyo showcased Lapid’s ability to talk with foreign powers on a day when Netanyahu is in Ukraine.

Lapid told the Japanese about the dangers of a nuclear Iran. “Israel must do better work at public diplomacy with countries like Japan and emphasize that the Iranian nuclear deal endangers world peace and Middle East,” Lapid said.

He said he was received very warmly and also discussed cooperation on cyber technology and economic and security issues. “The relations between Israel and Japan are a strategic asset that must be maintained and strengthened,” Lapid tweeted after the meetings.

Lapid mocked Netanyahu for going to Ukraine, saying that Israel has four times as much trade with Japan. “The only thing Ukraine has that Japan does not is voters of Avigdor Liberman, who Netanyahu is trying to take over, proving once again that he cares more about his politics than the country,” Lapid told Channel 12.


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