Benny Gantz

Israel’s Minister of Defence Benny Gantz has signed a Memorandum of Defence Cooperation with Japan.

The agreement will extend defence, strategic and military exchanges.

Gantz was welcomed by Minister Yasukazu Hamada before the talks.

Both ministers welcomed the memorandum as it commemorated the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Israel.

Gantz expressed his condolences to Hamada following the murder of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July. Global condemnation followed the assassination of Abe in Nara, near Osaka, ahead of elections. Police arrested Tetsuya Yamagami who confessed to planning the crime.

“He was a great leader and friend of Israel,” said Gantz.

Commenting on the memorandum, he noted, “Today, two ancient nations, powerful democracies and engines of innovation, embark on a joint venture, a partnership based on trust.

“In Israel, our troops serve in the Israeli Defense Forces, because our mission is to defend our people. 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.”

“The strategic partnership that we are building comes at a critical time in history, a time of both challenges and opportunities.”

Gantz continued, “On the heels of a global pandemic and a war in Ukraine, we see that each country must be prepared to defend itself. We learn that alliances must be deepened. And we see that security is also a matter of food and energy supplies as well as economic stability. These issues require close cooperation among partners.

“Global stability is also threatened by the 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.”

Outlining positive changes in the world, Gantz said there were opportunities to advance peace, such as the Abraham Accords.

“Their positive effects will radiate to the Indo-Pacific,” he observed.

Gantz thanked Hamade for Japan’s contribution to peace and stability in the Middle East region, through peacekeeping missions and economic investments.

“The global landscape is changing,” he noted, “While positive and negative powers compete, it is vital for our nations to deepen ties.”

Hamada welcomed stronger military ties with Israel as it will help achieve a “free and open Indo-Pacific”.

Japan and the US back the accord as it can help offset China’s growing power in the region.

Hamada also noted that peace and Middle East stability would aid Japan’s peace and prosperity.

Japan faces security issues with China and North Korea. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also impacted the country.

Gantz met with senior officials in the Japanese government including Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu, National Security Advisor AKIBA Takeo and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hayashi Yoshimasa.

Gantz also held a meeting with US Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emmanuel.

Chief of Staff to the Minister of Defence Maayan Israeli, MOD Director General (res.) Amir Eshel, Military Secretary BG. Yaki Dolf and Defense Attache to Japan Alon Yehoshua attended.