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

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.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

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

Why Saturday Was a Resounding Defeat for Iran

Yaakov Lappin provides a concise and useful overview of what transpired on Saturday. For him, the bottom line is this:

Iran and its jihadist Middle Eastern axis sustained a resounding strategic defeat. . . . The fact that 99 percent of the threats were intercepted means that a central pillar of Iranian force projection—its missile and UAV arsenals—has been proven to be no match for Israel’s air force, for its multilayered air-defense system, or for regional cooperation with allies.

Iran must now await Israel’s retaliation, and unlike Israel, Iranian air defenses are by comparison limited in scope. After its own failure on Sunday, Iran now relies almost exclusively on Hizballah for an ability to threaten Israel.

And even as Iran continues to work on developing newer and deadlier missiles, the IDF is staying a few steps ahead:

Israel is expecting its Iron Beam laser-interception system, which can shoot down rockets, mortars, and UAVs, to become operational soon, and is developing an interceptor (Sky Sonic) for Iran’s future hypersonic missile (Fattah), which is in development.

The Iron Beam will change the situation in a crucial way. Israell’s defensive response on Saturday reportedly cost it around $1 billion. While Iron Beam may have to be used in concert with other systems, it is far cheaper and doesn’t run the risk of running out of ammunition.

Read more at JNS

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Iron Dome, Israeli Security, Israeli technology