US/World News

Japan increases investment in Israel

By Jackson Richman/(JNS) Israel and Japan have been negotiating a free-trade agreement, the financial newspaper Calcalist reported on Tuesday, Jan. 15. This development comes as a Japanese envoy, led by the country’s Economy, Trade and Industry minister Hiroshige Seko, visited Israel. Seko met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen. This visit is Seko’s third in the past four years. “There’s been a tremendous increase in Japanese investments in Israel. In the last few years, the growth of Japanese investments in Israel has been 120 times,” said Netanyahu. He continued, “Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe and I agreed that we have to upgrade the economic relations and this visit is part of that.”

The visit constitutes an additional milestone in the deepening of bilateral economic relations and commercial cooperation. “The negotiation is highly significant,” East Asia scholar Cory Evans said. “Historically, Japan has long held Jewish people in high esteem. Jewish investment banker Jacob Schiff was the principal financial backer of Japan during the Russo-Japanese War. Later, during World War II, Japan famously refused to hand over Jewish persons under her jurisdiction to Nazi Germany. Many individual persons went to great efforts to aid the Jewish people.”

Strategically, said Evans, “Japan and Israel share broader goals of securing the rule of law in international relations. Both Japan and Israel have advanced economies, with a technological focus. Securing broad international standards, for example regarding intellectual property, is a significant strategic goal for both countries. Of course, geopolitically, Japan and Israel are both strong allies of the United States – part of the United States’ global network of allies and strategic partners. … Setting the rules of the game for these economies is very important, to the United States, to Japan and to countries throughout the region.”

CAP: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko (left) and Israeli Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen. Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO

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