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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, today (Sunday, 18 January 2015), arrived in Israel at the head of a delegation of over 100 government officials and presidents of leading global Japanese companies in order to expand bilateral economic cooperation.


Japan is considered the third largest economy in the world with a GDP of $4.73 trillion (2013). This is the first visit to Israel by a Japanese Prime Minister since 2006.


At the start of their meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu said:


"I'm delighted to welcome you, Prime Minister. I think this is a reciprocal visit to the one I made in Japan. It gives us an historic opportunity to bring together the great capabilities of the peopleof Japan and the people of Israel. I think there are many economic areas, technological areas and other areas in which we can cooperate, and I look forward to doing that for the benefit of both our peoples."


At the subsequent meeting with 26 Japanese businesspeople and company heads, Japanese Prime Minister Abe said


"Taking the opportunity of the visit by Prime Minister Netanyahu to Japan last year, we are now seeing steady progress in development of our bilateral relationship in a comprehensive manner. And among all the areas that we are working closely, the economy is the one area which has the greatest potential for advancement of the bilateral relations. This time, I brought a business delegation, and all of the members are the distinguished leaders on this front, namely the CEOs who have extensive experience doing business with Israel and also who all share the passion about the business with Israel. Most recently, I understand that the Government of Israel made a cabinet decision to reinforce the economic ties between Japan and Israel. Taking this opportunity I would like to encourage Mr. Prime Minister to have the firsthand experience and also feel the great passion shared by the Japanese business community, major corporations and small to medium enterprises as well as the independent administrative organs."


Photo by Amos Ben Gershon GPO