H.E. Mr. Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, made an official working visit to Japan on February 25-28, 2008.
During his official working visit to Japan (February 25-28, 2008), Prime Minister Olmert held a constructive and forward-looking meeting with H.E. Mr. Yasuo Fukuda, Prime Minister of Japan, and both Prime Ministers issued the following statement for the further development of bilateral relations.
(1) Political relations
Both sides expressed their satisfaction with the steady progress of the bilateral relations in all aspects and reiterated their common determination to further strengthen the cordial bonds through enhancing dialogue and cooperation at all levels. In this connection, both sides expressed their willingness to continue high-level political dialogue, reviewing the outstanding increase in the mutual visits of leading political figures including Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of both countries since 2006. In this context, both sides also welcomed the establishment of a high-level strategic dialogue in 2007. Its second meeting will be held in Jerusalem during this year.
(2) Economic relations
Both sides shared the view that the further development of economic relations is a driving force for strengthening partnership between Japan and Israel. Both sides appreciated the successful visits of Japanese business missions to Israel, one of which was dispatched on the occasion of the Prime Minister's Conference in Tel-Aviv in November, 2007. Also, they highlighted the significance of the high-level Israeli private sector mission accompanying Prime Minister Olmert as well as of the meeting of Joint Japan-Israel Business Forum held on February 26 in Tokyo. In order to strengthen the bilateral economic relations by identifying possible initiatives for desirable bilateral cooperation in a broad range of areas, including, but not limited to: trade and investment, industry, agriculture, tourism and the environment, both sides decided to establish a joint working group, which will make a joint report to both governments for further consideration.
Both sides recognized the importance of direct flights between the two countries for further development of the bilateral economic relations.
(3) Cooperation in Science and Technology
Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing cooperation in science and technology, according to the existing Agreement between both Governments of Japan and Israel on Cooperation in Science and Technology, signed in 1994. The 4th meeting of Japan-Israel Joint Committee for Cooperation in Science and Technology will be held this year in Tokyo. Both sides will explore joint activities in various science and technology areas. Recognizing the recent development of cooperative relationship, both sides welcome further cooperation in the space sector.
(4) The 60th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Diplomatic Relations
Mindful of Year 2012 that celebrates the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two countries, both sides shared the view that the 60th anniversary would offer great opportunities to further strengthen the time-honored friendship in wide-ranging areas. Both sides also shared the significance of promoting a variety of commemorating events with the aims of broadening exchanges between the people of the two countries.
Cooperation in Middle East Peace Process and "Corridor for Peace and Prosperity" initiative
Both sides reaffirmed that the solution of the Arab-Israel conflict will contribute to achieving stability and prosperity in the Middle East. In this context, Prime Minister Fukuda expressed his strong support for the ongoing bilateral negotiations between the Israeli and the Palestinian sides which were relaunched at the Annapolis Conference of November 2007, in order to conclude a peace treaty between the two sides. Prime Minister Olmert reiterated his commitment to making every effort to conclude agreement with the Palestinian side before the end of 2008 and Prime Minister Fukuda expressed Japan's readiness to extend necessary assistance to such peace efforts. In this context, Prime Minister Olmert expressed his appreciation for Japan's active contribution to the Middle East peace process and its assistance to the Palestinian people.
Both sides shared the vision of the two states, living side by side in peace and security, and reiterated their strong commitment to steadily and swiftly materializing Japan's "Corridor for Peace and Prosperity" initiative with close and active cooperation among Israel, Japan, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. In this regard, both sides expressed their expectation that the third ministerial-level meeting of the Four-Party Consultation Unit for the initiative would be held at an earliest possible opportunity.