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Israeli exports to Japan rose 27 percent in the first quarter over the same period last year, while imports from Japan sank 17%, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry said Tuesday as Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi arrived on his first visit to Israel.
Given the "immense" size of the Japanese economy, trade between the two countries is still far from meeting potential, a ministry official said, noting that trade had been hindered by geographical and cultural distances and the lack of direct flights.
Nonetheless, recent events and increased tourism have helped bring the countries closer together, the ministry said.
In 2005, exports to Japan totalled $742 million and imports from Japan came to $1.35 billion.