peres with japanese fm 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumia Kishida met on Wednesday with
President Shimon Peres, who praised Japan’s role in joint projects with
Kishida is in the region to participate in the Fourth Ministerial
Meeting of the Four-Party Consultative Unit for the Corridor for Peace and
Prosperity, which is due to take place Thursday in Jericho.
expressed particular pleasure in welcoming Kishida because of the Japanese
initiative in funding the Jericho Agro-Industrial Park, which is due to begin
operations in the spring of 2014. Memoranda of understanding have been signed
with 24 companies so far.
Japan has funded infrastructure for the
project, including the establishment of a solar power plant, the construction of
an administration building that should be completed by this September, and a
waste water treatment plant expected to become operational by March
The Corridor for Peace and Prosperity, established as a Japanese
initiative in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, Israel and Jordan, is
Japan’s contribution to the Palestinians’ coexistence with their
In expressing appreciation to Kishida, Peres recalled that he
had personally flown to Japan to reach an agreement with the Japanese
“At the time it looked far away, but this is one of the most
successful and sophisticated programs,” he said, adding that “peace must have an
Peres said he was happy with the way the Japanese had
handled the project, which he said was important both economically and
“You can demonstrate that we’re not only talking, but doing,”
he told Kishida.
The president declared that his respect for the Japanese
“has gone up tremendously,” not only because of the achievements in Jericho, but
because of the way Japan recovered from the catastrophic earthquake it suffered
“I don’t know of any other people who would take it like Japan,”
he said, praising the calm, constructive and courageous manner in which the
eastern country had set out on the road to rehabilitation.
voiced his appreciation for Japan’s participation in the efforts to prevent Iran
from going nuclear and becoming a world center for terrorism.
already enough bombs in the world, he said, adding that Japan had suffered more
than any other country from being bombed.
Reviewing Japan’s relations
with the Middle East, he observed that Tokyo’s previous connections with the
region had been through energy, “but now the map of energy is changing.” He
noted that the United States has twice as much oil as the Middle
The relationship should now turn to cooperative endeavors in
science and technology, he said.
“The problem of the Middle East is not
energy, but peace,” he stated.
Peres suggested that Japan and Israel
could join forces in helping people find the path to peace by escaping poverty,
unemployment and suffering.
Kishida commented on Israel’s long
relationship with Japan, and praised ambassadors from both countries for having
done so much to strengthen the ties.
He was particularly grateful for
Israel’s assistance following the earthquake, especially the medical units the
Israelis had sent in.
“This touched the hearts of the people and
strengthened the bond between us,” he said.
Last year, Japan and Israel
celebrated the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic relations.
said he wanted the ties over the next 60 years to be even closer and more
Commenting that Israel was constantly in the spotlight
internationally, he said the Middle East peace process was a central issue for
the global community.
From a personal standpoint, he said he had always
wanted to visit Israel and was happy to be here now, in the immediate aftermath
of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement last weekend that the peace
negotiations would resume. Kishida took this as a sign of positive
Following the Thursday meeting in Jericho, Kishida will
proceed to Jordan.