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METI Minister Seko Visits Palestine, the State of Israel and Ukraine

From May 1 (Mon.) to 5 (Fri.), 2017, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited Palestine (Ramallah and Jericho), the State of Israel (Jerusalem) and Ukraine (Chernobyl). In Palestine, Minister Seko paid a courtesy call on H.E. Dr. Rami Hamdallah, Prime Minister, and also visited Jericho Agro-Industrial Park. In the State of Israel, he attended a Japan-Israel Ministerial-level Economic Dialogue and concluded a joint statement for the Japan-Israel Innovation Partnership. In addition, he also paid a courtesy call on H.E. Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister, visited Mobileye and engaged in other activities. Moreover, in Ukraine, he toured the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the city of Pripyat, and other sites.

1. Palestine

1) Courtesy call to Prime Minister Hamdallah

Minister Seko and Prime Minister Hamdallah talked about Jericho Agro-Industrial Park, which is a flagship project representing the initiative of the Corridor for Peace and Prosperity and celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Both sides shared their expectations for the contribution of the industrial park to employment creation and industry revitalization. In addition, Prime Minister Hamdallah showed his gratitude for Japan’s current cooperation as well as his expectation for Japan’s further cooperation in the future. Minister Seko stated that Japan will continue to engage in efforts so as to further encourage economic exchange.

2) Visiting Jericho Agro-Industrial Park

Minister Seko visited Jericho Agro-Industrial Park (JAIP), toured two plants (bar-soap and supplements plants) operated by Palestine companies, and exchanged views with business owners.

2. State of Israel

1) Japan-Israel Ministerial-level Economic Policy Dialogue

Bringing together Minister Seko and H.E. Mr. Eli Cohen, Minister of Industry and Economy, the first Japan-Israel Ministerial-level Economic Policy Dialogue was held. Both ministers welcomed the dramatic advancement of the Japan-Israel economic relationship since the leaders of both countries visited each other’s countries in 2014 and 2015, and also concluded a joint statement for the Japan-Israel Innovation Partnership, an initiative showing approaches to the Japan-Israel economic relationship in the new era. Major details of the partnership are as follows.

  • Facilitating cybersecurity cooperation in industrial fields
    Both sides decided to promote human resource development through the utilization of the newly-established Industrial Cyber Security Center as well as collaboration in the field of business. Concerning these initiatives, both ministers concluded a memorandum of cooperation.
  • Promoting industrial R&D cooperation to expand investment in the field of high technology
    Both sides decided to engage in further promotion of inter-company collaboration in the co-funding program by New Energy Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan and the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA), and they will discuss an issue concerning exchanging researchers between top research institutions in Japan and Israel in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.
  • Accelerating business-to-business communication
    Both sides decided to establish the Japan-Israel Innovation Network (JIIN), a new, public-private framework, serving as a platform for exchange in the private sectors in both countries. They also decided to: expand cooperation also in Kansai and other regions in Japan to discover the needs of mid-ranking companies and SMEs that seek collaboration with Israel; promote exchange of entrepreneurs, researchers, venture capital firms and other entities; and expand collaboration in the fields on which both countries should place an emphasis.

2) Courtesy call to Prime Minister Netanyahu

Minister Seko delivered a personal letter from Prime Minister Abe to Prime Minister Netanyahu describing Japan’s intention to promote the Japan-Israel Innovation Partnership. Minister Seko also stated Japan’s opinion that the two countries should engage in measures for enhancing collaboration focusing on the three pillars of cybersecurity, industrial R&D cooperation, and business-to-business communication, under the framework of the Japan-Israel Innovation Partnership, thereby advancing Japan-Israel cooperation more widely, deeply and swiftly, placing innovation at the core. Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed appreciation of this statement. In addition, both sides shared a recognition that Japanese and Israeli companies are able to establish an excellent complementary relationship, and they agreed that both countries will engage in efforts for bolstering inter-company relationships in Japan and Israel.

3) Visiting Mobileye

Minister Seko visited Mobileye, a Jerusalem-based company providing safe technologies for automobiles, including automatic braking and unmanned driving systems, since its establishment in 1999, and he tried out a car with an autonomous driving system.

3. Ukraine

1) Touring the Chernobyl nuclear power plant

Minister Seko toured the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and ascertained the current state of the facilities, such as the progress in decommissioning of the plant, including the construction of new shelters and the management system of the plant after the nuclear accident. In light of the country’s disaster responses and experience involving the Chernobyl accident, he reconfirmed the importance of removing fuel debris from the reactor buildings in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, bearing in mind safety as the top priority.

2) Touring the cities of Pripyat and Chernobyl

Minister Seko visited Pripyat, a city that remains deserted ever since the evacuation order was issued after the nuclear accident, and toured the city of Chernobyl in which there is a memorial park and signs showing villages subject to the evaluation order.

Appendix

Release date

May 8, 2017

Division in Charge

Information on Palestine and Israel
Middle East and Africa Division, Trade Policy Bureau
Information on Ukraine
Nuclear Accident Response Office, Nuclear Energy Policy Planning Division, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy
Europe Division, Trade Policy Bureau, METI
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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