Israel looks to increase defense cooperation with Japan - DM

In the first visit of its kind in over a decade, Defense Minister Benny Gantz will meet with several Japanese security and government officials.

 Defense Minister Benny Gantz on the first diplomatic visit to Japan since 2012.  (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz on the first diplomatic visit to Japan since 2012.
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz landed in Tokyo on Monday for a visit to mark 70 years of diplomatic ties between Japan and Israel.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz on a diplomatic meeting to Japan (credit: Defense Ministry).

During his visit, Gantz will attend a series of meetings with Japanese security and government officials.

This is the first visit of its kind in a decade.

"I shared with the Secretary the importance of strategic defense cooperation between our two strong democracies in light of growing regional and global challenges that threaten security, food and energy supplies, and economic growth," Gantz said.

In the evening, Gantz will hold an event honoring former Vice Defense Minister Yasuhide Nakayama for his outstanding contribution to promoting relations between Israel and Japan.

 Defense Minister Benny Gantz visiting Japan.  (credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY) Defense Minister Benny Gantz visiting Japan. (credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)

On Tuesday Gantz plans to meet with his Japanese counterpart Yasukazu Hamada.

Among those traveling with Gantz are Defense Ministry Director-General Amir Eshel, Defense Ministry Chief of Staff Maayan Israeli, Ambassador of Israel to Japan Gilad Cohen, Defense Attache Alon Yehoshua, and Military Secretary Brig.-General Yaki Dolf. 

What is the history of Japan and Israel?

The last high-level Israeli to visit Japan was former Defense Minister Ehud Barak in 2012.

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, there are less than 600 Israelis living in Japan and less than 1,200 Japanese living in Israel. 

The two countries, conduct a large volume of trade, with $1.23 billion in Israeli exports $1.51 billion in Israeli imports.

The Defense Minister arrived in Japan after a trip to the US to discuss the Iran threat with Washington.