In a Changing World, Japan-Israel Relations Are Growing Stronger

Sept. 19 2022

Last month, the Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz visited Japan, where he and his counterparts concluded an agreement concerning security cooperation between the countries. The agreement is an outgrowth of the policies of the late prime minister Shinzo Abe, who cultivated warmer and more robust ties with the Jewish state as part of a more general reorientation of Tokyo’s foreign policy. Eyal Ben-Ari comments:

While bilateral meetings regarding trade have been regularly carried out for the past decade, the defense agreement was a significant boost in terms of cooperation in the national-security area.

The signing of the Abraham Accords, which were the initiative of Benjamin Netanyahu, further expanded the commercial ties between the countries. . . . This development means that today fully 15 percent of all foreign investment in Israeli technology is by Japanese enterprises.

Security ties with Israel are related to the accelerated reinforcement of Japan’s defense capabilities and its more assertive foreign relations during the past decade and a half. The exchange with Israel is especially important given Japan’s strategic considerations in the wake of the war in Ukraine. The war has further accelerated the country’s emphasis on beefing up its security in view of the nuclear threat from North Korea and, more important, an increasingly aggressive China.

The Middle East is crucial, moreover, to Japan’s continued prosperity and economic development, being the site of oil reserves and sitting astride major shipping lanes. . . . Here the interests of Japan and Israel coincide.

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Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Abraham Accords, China, Israel diplomacy, Japan, Shinzo Abe

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism