Livni meets her Japanese counterpart
Photo: AP
Livni arrives in Japan; visit to focus on Iran
Foreign minister meets with her Japanese counterpart Taro Aso. Livni to urge Tokyo to continue to actively oppose Tehran's nuclear program
TOKYO – Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni arrived Tuesday in Japan for an official visit which would focus on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the nuclear crisis with Iran.


At the start of the visit, Livni met with Japan's National Security Advisor Yoriko Koike and later with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso.


On Thursday Livni is scheduled to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.


For months now, even before sanctions were imposed on Iran by the United Nations Security Council, the United States has been working to convince countries conducting business with Iran to cut their ties with the Islamic republic.


Washington seeks to make it as difficult as possible for Iran to operate in the international financial arena in order to force Tehran to stop enriching uranium and open its nuclear plan for supervision.

Livni with Yoriko Koike and Ambassador Eli Cohen (Photo: Konishi Katsuji)


Japan is one of the countries that accepted the American call, although it imports large amounts of Iranian oil on a daily basis and also has million-dollar contracts with Tehran for the development of oil fields.


Japan has been working to minimize its reliance on the Iranian oil. Japanese companies have cancelled some of the existing contracts and large Japanese banks have also cut their ties with Iran's governmental bank – moves which were received with great satisfaction in Jerusalem.


Japan lowers travel warning

In an interview with the Japanese television channel NHK, Livni said that Iran constitutes a danger to the entire region and not only to Israel, and added that she hoped moderate Arab countries would continue with their resistance to the stances presented by the Iranian regime.


As a preparation for the visit, Japan lowered its warning to Japanese tourists visiting Israel to level one in the entire country, excluding the Palestinian Authority territories. This is aimed at making it easier for Japanese businesspeople to visit Israel.


This is Livni's first visit to Japan and is being held following the visit of Japan's former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Jerusalem last summer.


Upon her arrival in Tokyo, Livni and her Japanese counterpart signed an updates memo of understandings between the two countries, which raises the level of consultations between the states to the rank of deputy minister.


Livni also met with the manager of the Japan International Cooperation Agecny, and the two agreed that the organization would open two offices in Ramallah and Jericho in order to provide aid to the Palestinians.


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