Israel and Japan Are Finally Becoming Friends. Why?

After decades of wariness, the two nations are being drawn together by common interests and shared fears.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe places a note between stones of the Western Wall. AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe places a note between stones of the Western Wall. AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean.

Observation
Aug. 6 2015
About the author

Arthur Herman is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the author, most recently, of 1917: Lenin, Wilson, and the Birth of the New World Disorder (HarperCollins, 2017).


Walk down a side street in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Eshkol and you may came across a group of students chatting loudly in Hebrew as they review their Bible lessons of the day. Hardly an extraordinary sight in Israel—except that these aren’t Israelis. They’re young Japanese on student visas who have assumed hybrid names like Asher Sieto Kimura and Suzana Keiren Mimosa. And they’re Makuyas: members of a Japanese religious group that’s been fervently supportive of Israel since 1948.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Japan, Politics & Current Affairs, Shinzo Abe