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2024 April 3 - 9 TOP3 [POLITICS]

JCP Kokuta demands cancellation of Japan-Israel EPA talks

April 6, 2024

Japanese Communist Party representative Kokuta Keiji on April 5 pointed out that the conclusion of an economic partnership agreement (EPA) with Israel will mean that Japan condones Israel’s acts of breaching international law. He demanded that Japan cease negotiations on an EPA with Israel.

At a meeting of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Kokuta pointed to the fact that Israel in February this year approved yet more new settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, and asked about the Japanese government’s view on this. Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko in response said, “Settlement activities are in violation of international law.” She said that the UN Security Council Presidential Statement, which was unanimously adopted in February 2023, stressed that “continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines.”

Kokuta noted that the government in 2022 launched the joint study group on the possibility of a Japan-Israel EPA, and asked if Israeli defense-related companies participate in the study group. The Foreign Minister refused to give an answer.

Kokuta pointed out that the aim of a Japan-Israel EPA is to reduce trade barriers and promote investments between the two nations as well as to strengthen the economy through the free movement of goods, capital and people in a wide range of fields. He said, “The conclusion of the EPA with Israel is not consistent with the Japanese government’s position expressing concern over Israeli’s settlement activities.”

In response, Kamikawa said that the government will make a judgement in a timely and appropriate manner based on comprehensive consideration.

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