Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at his Jerusalem office, met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and made the following statement at the start of their meeting:
"Prime Minister Abe, it’s a pleasure to welcome you and your delegation to the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. It’s an opportunity to reciprocate the warm hospitality you showed all of us last year when we visited Japan.
Prime Minister, your visit clearly demonstrates your own commitment to strengthening relationship between Israel and Japan. This is a commitment I fully share.
Japan and Israel are separated by the great land mass of Asia. Japan is on the eastern edge of the continent; Israel is on the western edge. Yet Japan and Israel continue to overcome great geographic distance, forging and ever warming and I would say ever more productive relationship between us.
In my visit to Japan, I was deeply impressed by the depth of your heritage, your embrace of your history and your culture, and yet at the same time, you’re looking forward to the future, to new developments, to technology. This is very similar to our own experience and our own nature. We are two ancient peoples, part of our history and our heritage, and at the same time we are two modern, dynamic societies and we eagerly seek to blaze new paths to an advanced and innovative future for all of us and for all mankind.
And, Prime Minister, we have something else in common: we are two peace loving democracies that face formidable threats from nearby rogue states.
Both Iran and North Korea are governed by ruthless and extreme dictatorships, states that seek to bully and intimidate their neighbors, and in our case, to actually eradicate us from the face of the earth.
Iran and North Korea have aggressive military nuclear programs, and they are both developing nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, ballistic missiles.
Mr. Prime Minister, you and I are both committed to peace and security. This is characteristic of both Japan and Israel. We’ve been wounded by war, we know the cost of war and the pain of war. We know the blessings of peace. Israel seeks peace with all its neighbors. But we know in our region, that peace and security are intertwined. And if we cannot defend our security against those who would threaten us and seek to attack us, and do attack us, then there will be no peace. Israel is adamant that it will have the right to defend itself against all those who wish to propagate terror and other attacks against its citizens, against its territory.
We will not have our hands ties by anyone, including the ICC. We will do what is necessary to defend ourselves wherever we need to do so.
There’s no greater threat to the peace and security of the world than Iran’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons. We’ve seen the horrors committed by Islamic extremists armed with conventional weapons. We’ve seen this in Iraq and in Syria, in Nigeria, in Kenya, in India and Pakistan. Ten days ago we saw it in Paris as well.
Now just imaging the horrific results if the Islamic extremists who rule Iran get their hands on nuclear weapons. We would all face a threat of unimaginable consequences.
Israel would like to see a peaceful end to Iran’s military nuclear program. And I urge the international community, in seeking such and end, not to repeat the mistake of the negotiations with North Korea. That agreement with Pyongyyang in 1994, was widely celebrated as a historic breakthrough for nonproliferation, but in the end, that deal failed to prevent the dangerous proliferation that threatens all of East Asia today.
Iran cannot be allowed to travel the road taken by North Korea.
Until a deal is reached that actually dismantles Iran’s military nuclear capability, I believe the international sanctions on Iran must be maintained.
Mr. Prime Minister, we have these and many other issues to discuss, and I appreciate your counsel and your friendship. I can see from everything that we have seen so far in your visit, that the room for cooperation is vast. The opportunities are immense, the enthusiasm is great, because there’s genius on the Japanese side, there’s genius on the Israeli side – a genius to forge a new future, to bring the heights of ingenuity to productive use or all societies, for better communications physically, literally, for the application of medicine and medical devices to better human life, for greater productivity in human effort.
I think these things are as centered in our two societies, and locking hands in friendship and cooperation will increase them both.
Japan and Israel are partners; Japan and Israel are allies in seeking a better future; and Japan and Israel are friends.
In this spirit, Prime Minister Abe, I say one again, welcome to Jerusalem."
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