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METI Minister Motegi Visited Israel, Palestine and Turkey

From July 5 to 9, 2014, Mr. Toshimitsu Motegi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited Israel, Palestine and Turkey to attend the Israel-Japan Business Forum and the Second Japan-Turkey Trade and Investment Summit (TRINS) as well as to hold meetings with related senior officials. Minister Motegi became the first METI Minister to visit these countries and regions.

1. Israel

1) Israel-Japan Business Forum

The Israel-Japan Business Forum was held as the first full-scale forum between the countries, with enterprises from both countries attending. At the forum, Minister Motegi expressed his strong hope that enterprises from both sides develop many specific projects and his expectation that the economic partnership between the two countries will be further enhanced as a result of the forum. The forum had a large number of participants with 150 people attending, i.e., 50 people from 27 Japanese enterprises and organizations and 100 people from 70 Israeli enterprises and organizations, which showed the increasing confidence on the part of such participants from the business world toward the development of the Japan-Israel partnership.

Minister Motegi delivering a speech at the forum

2) Meetings with the Israeli leader and other senior officials

[i] Prime Minister Netanyahu

H.E. Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, highly praised the swift conclusion of the agreement on mutual cooperation in the field of industrial R&D between the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Economy of Israel, based on the proposal from Prime Minister Netanyahu during his visit to Japan in May 2014. In addition, concerning cooperation in the field of cyber security, another issue to be considered based on the proposal from Prime Minister Netanyahu, both sides agreed to specifically advance discussions on the issue between related organizations in both countries. Furthermore, concerning the support measures for business startups, Japan proposed to increase the level of personnel exchanges so as to share knowledge in the field between the countries, and Israel welcomed the proposal.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also made a proposal on dispatching an Israeli mission to Japan for the purpose of developing cooperation in some fields, including renewable energy, and both sides agreed that they will specify possible approaches to such missions in the near future.

Minister Motegi and Prime Minister Netanyahu

[ii] Minister Bennett

Minister Motegi held a meeting with H.E. Mr. Naftali Bennett, Minister of Economy of Israel, and they held a policy dialogue on promoting economic cooperation between Japan and Israel. Following the dialogue, both countries held a signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Cooperation in the field of industrial R&D, which was concluded between the governments and between the related organizations. Following the ceremony, a meeting was held to exchange views, with people from enterprises in both countries attending, which provided participants with an excellent opportunity to exchange views on developing business cooperation.

Minister Motegi and Minister Bennett at the signing ceremony

2. Palestine

Minister Motegi held a meeting with H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine. President Abbas highly praised Japan’s support for encouraging exports of Palestinian products to Japan, for the purpose of developing the mutual economic relationship. In addition, Minister Motegi proposed that Japan support business startups of young Palestinian people as well as promoting employment, which are big challenges that Palestine is facing. In response, President Abbas welcomed the proposal, and they agreed that both countries will endeavor to flesh out details of these efforts.

Minister Motegi and President Abbas

3. Turkey

Japan and Turkey held the Second Japan-Turkey Trade and Investment Summit (TRINS). At the summit, both countries agreed to further deepen the cooperation in the field of trade and investment between Japan and Turkey.

In particular, concerning the Japan-Turkey EPA, Minister Motegi and H.E. Mr. Nihat Zeybekci, Minister of Economy, agreed that Japan and Turkey will hold the first round of negotiations by the end of the year.

In addition, Japan requested that Turkey support smooth development of infrastructure projects in Turkey, in which Japanese enterprises will participate, including the Sinop Nuclear Power Plant Project, the Marmaray Project (railways), the Izmit Bay Bridge Project and the Integrated Health Campus Project (hospitals). Furthermore, Japan encouraged Turkey to permit Japanese enterprises to join the Dardanelles Strait Bridge Project, which is expected to be undertaken in the future.

Japan also requested that the Turkish government proactively engage in certain efforts, including relaxing the one-to-five rule, a government-issued requirement which foreign enterprises must satisfy to obtain labor permits, and an early conclusion of the social security agreement, based on the recognition that it is important for Japan to improve the business environment in the country as an increased number of Japanese enterprises develop their business there. In response, Turkey stated that it will proactively discuss the issues.

Following the summit meeting, both sides held a meeting to exchange views, with people from enterprises in both countries attending.

The Second TRINS

Release Date

July 9, 2014

Division in Charge

Middle East and Africa Division, Trade Policy Bureau

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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