Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu compared notes on Monday regarding their respective neighbors suspected to be developing illicit nuclear weapons. Netanyahu is on the second day of his official five-day trip to Japan, and has been vocal about his opinion on the international community keeping pressure on Iran, which is suspected of trying to develop atomic bombs.
The two leaders then released a joint statement, where they expressed their concern for both nations. Abe said that he is hoping “for the early resolution of various issues of concerns regarding North Korea, including its nuclear development.” Speaking at a news conference after meeting Abe, Netanyahu revealed Abe’s concerns for the hermit nation of North Korea, saying that there was a very real threat from Pyongyang. “The same words – ‘clear and present danger’ – certainly apply to the Iranian nuclear program as well,” he said. “Like North Korea before it, Iran wants to keep its military capabilities, military nuclear capabilities while easing the sanctions that are applied to it,” he added.
According to other details in the joint statement, Netanyahu and Abe also agreed to cooperate in the field of cyber-security, even an agreement to strengthen bilateral defense cooperation between Japan and Israel. The statement says that there will be visits of officers of the Japan Self Defense Forces (SDF) to Israel. Locally, Abe has been pushing for Japan’s well-equipped and well-trained SDF to have a more active role in world affairs but the nation’s post-war pacifist constitution prohibits collective self-defense. Abe is now pushing for a “re-interpretation” of the collective self-defense law under his administration.