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January 5, 2015 2:19 pm

Japanese Prime Minister Plans to Visit Israel in Mid-January

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Israel in January. Photo: DoD Photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo. – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to visit Israel later this month as part of a regional tour.

The visit, which has not been officially announced, comes after the Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved a plan to strengthen ties between the Jewish state and Japan by investing “tens of millions of shekels” over the next three years, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Israel’s trade relationship with Japan, the world’s third-largest economy behind the US and China, has stagnated in recent years, with trade only amounting to around $720 million.

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But as Israel’s ties with the European Union, the Jewish state’s largest trading partner, grow more strained over increasing calls in Europe for Palestinian statehood and sanctions against Israel’s presence in the disputed territories, Israel is turning towards new markets for growth.

“In the last two years, I have met with the leaders of China, Japan and India as part of a comprehensive policy of turning to major markets including Latin America and Africa,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.

As part of the measure approved by the Israeli cabinet, Israel plans to open a trade office in Osaka, increase commercial attaches in Tokyo, and increase research with and tourism to Japan.

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