Benyamin Netanyahu faction meeting.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Netanyahu is to visit Japan in mid-May, the Japanese Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.
This will be the first visit there by an Israeli prime minister since Ehud Olmert traveled to Tokyo in February 2008.
The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that the trip will take place from May 11 to May 15.
As a result, the opening of the Knesset’s summer session, originally scheduled for May 12, will be pushed off a few days.
The visit comes amid Israeli efforts to deepen economic and political ties with Asian and Latin American countries.
A trip planned earlier this month to Colombia, Panama and Mexico – which would have marked the first time an Israeli prime minister visited a South American country – was postponed because of a Foreign Ministry strike.
Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said that visit is being rescheduled.
According to a statement issued by the Japanese, Netanyahu – who will be accompanied by his wife, Sara – will meet the emperor and empress of Japan, as well as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The statement said the visit will “further strengthen the friendly relations between Japan and the State of Israel.”
Japan is one of Israel’s oldest friends in Asia, and in 2012 the two countries celebrated 60 years of diplomatic ties.
In addition to economic ties, Netanyahu is expected to discuss Iran and the Palestinian issue. Japan initiated a major project in the Jordan Valley, called the Corridor for Peace and Prosperity in the Jordan Rift, which works together with Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority to advance economic projects.
The visit comes a year after he visited China, giving a boost to Israeli-Chinese economic ties.Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.
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