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Israel Asks Japan for Support

  • Yuriko Nagano

Israel's foreign minister says that Iran is a threat to all of the Middle East. Yuriko Nagano reports from Tokyo, where Tzipi Livni is meeting with Japanese leaders in a bid to strengthen ties between Israel and Japan.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni called for international support for governments run by moderates, such as in Jordan, to counter Iran.

She says that Iran, which the United States and other governments suspect of seeking to build nuclear weapons, is not only a threat to Israel but to the Middle East.

The Israeli foreign minister on a two-day visit to Tokyo.

"I came to Japan in order to express, of course, our bilateral needs and to enhance and strengthen the ties between Israel and Japan," she said.

Japan's Foreign Ministry says Tokyo invited Livni to upgrade relations. Last year, when former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Israel, the two governments agreed to seek regular high-level meetings.

Livni spoke with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and thanked him for Japan's support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

During her talk to journalists, Livni spoke about Israel's challenges, saying one problem is the country's image as an aggressor. She likened Israel's image to the Goliath in the biblical story of David and Goliath and said her goal is to change the image.

Livni also said it is a misperception to say the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has caused Islamic extremism in the Middle East. She says she believes the conflict is the result of extremism and not the cause of it.

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