Ayalon to lay wreath in Hiroshima

Deputy Foreign Minister heads to Tokyo with Iran’s nukes high on the agenda; Israeli dignitaries have visited Japan, none has laid wreath at the site.

November 12, 2010 03:13
1 minute read.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon

Danny Ayalon 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Next Wednesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon will become the first senior Israeli government official to lay a wreath at the memorial in Hiroshima to those killed when the US dropped an atomic bomb there on August 6, 1945.

Although Israeli presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers have visited Japan, none has laid a wreath at the site, according to Ayalon.

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Speaking with The Jerusalem Post ahead of his Saturday night departure for his four-day visit, Ayalon said it was important to show his respect to the Japanese victims.

That was particularly true at a time when the world faced the threat of a nuclear Iran, he said.

Japan is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and has supported sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Yukiya Amano, the director-general of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, is from Japan.

In October, Tokyo added sanctions in which it froze assets of people and entities linked to Teheran’s nuclear program. It also tightened restrictions on financial transactions with Iran.

Ayalon said he expected to discuss Iran with Japanese officials, such as his counterpart, Yutaka Banno, and Yutaka Iimura, Tokyo’s special envoy for the Middle East.

He will also discuss bilateral issues such as trade and scientific cooperation with a focus on alternative energy.

“Asia in general and Japan in particular is a major force in the international community,” Ayalon said. “It’s the third largest economy in the world.”

“The visit is aimed at further enhancing Israel’s relationship with Japan,” he said. “We have many areas of mutual interest and are both ancient civilizations with shared values.”

Earlier this year, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor also visited Japan.

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