Japan and Israel are strengthening their ties with a historic agreement on defense. Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz and Japanese Minister of Defense Yasukazu Hamada signed a “Memorandum for Defense Cooperation” at the Japanese Ministry of Defense on Tuesday.
The agreement will enable the respective countries to widen defense, strategic and military exchanges.
The ministers celebrated the signing, which comes on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, according to an Israeli government statement.
“In Israel, our troops serve in the ‘Israeli Defense Forces – IDF’ – because our mission is to defend our people,” said Gantz, who is the first Israeli defense minister to travel to Japan over the past decade.
“Minister, our countries share this common goal – defending our homes, seeking peace and stability. Cooperation between Israel and Japan in developing technology and sharing knowledge will enable us to achieve our common vision.”
He added: “Global stability is threatened by Iran’s nuclear program and malign activities. I have just returned from a visit to our close, shared ally – the United States, where I discussed the nuclear agreement with Iran. This threat requires a united international front led by the U.S.”
Gantz, who arrived in Japan on Monday, met with senior officials in the Japanese government, including Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, National Security Advisor Takeo Akiba, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Yoshimasa Hayashi.
Minister Gantz also held a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emmanuel.
The Minister was joined on his visit by his ministry’s chief of staff, Maayan Israeli, Director General (res.) Amir Eshel, Military Secretary Brig. General Yaki Dolf, and Defense Attache to Japan Alon Yehoshua.
The deepening ties between Israel and Japan were birthed during the Trump administration as it sought to find new partners to counter China in the Middle East and Asia.