"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Minister Gemba's speech at the reception in celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Israel

[Date] May 1, 2012
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

His Excellency Mr. Reuven Rivlin, Speaker of the Knesset, His Excellency Mr. Avigdor Liberman, Foreign Minister of Israel, His Excellency Mr. Ehud Barak, Defense Minister of Israel, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great honor and pleasure for me to be here in Israel in the 60th anniversary year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Israel.

First of all, I would like to express my condolences to Prime Minister Netanyahu and his family for the loss of his father. Before this reception, I met Mr. Netanyahu at his father's home.

Israel was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Japan /after the World War Two.

During the War, about six thousand Jewish people evacuated to Japan with visas issued by Mr. Chiune Sugihara.

I am very much delighted to hear that many "Sugihara survivors" have contributed to the nation-building of Israel.

It is a privilege to have one of the Sugihara survivors, Ms.Nina Admoni, here with us today.

Sixty years ago, Japan was struggling to recover from the war, and Israel was working hard to build its own country.

Both countries have surprised the world with tremendous achievements since then.

This success can be explained by common virtues that Japan and Israel share, such as diligence, emphasis on education and advanced technology.

The Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11 last year was a devastating and tragic event, but it provided us with the opportunity to further strengthen the friendship between Japan and Israel.

We will never ever forget the heartfelt assistance from the Israeli people. At the reception I organized in Tokyo on March 12 this year, I highlighted the achievement of a medical team from Israel. All the other countries were envious.

I hope many of you will visit Japan and see Japan's resilience.

Today, I had a fruitful meeting with Foreign Minister Liberman.

It is very important that both governments continue this kind of close consultations.

In the meetings, I explained that Japan continues to engage politically and economically for the two-state solution to the Middle East Peace Process.

Japan urges the early resumption of the direct negotiations between both parties.

I also stated Japan's continued commitment to the "Corridor for Peace and Prosperity" initiative. This is a joint effort by Japan, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.

Now, I would like to propose a toast by wishing that our bilateral relations will further strengthen and will contribute to the peace and stability in the region.

Kanpai ! Le Chaim !!