A delegation from Japan's Kansai region, headed by the director of the local Ministry of Economy, visited Israel in order to promote economic cooperation between the two countries. During the visit, both sides signed a memorandum of understanding confirming their commitment to strengthen trade and economic ties. The meeting was a joint initiative of the Japanese Embassy in Israel, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry.
Economic relations with Japan started warming two years ago and since then delegates from both countries visited the other country. Following the signing of the MOU, business ties with Japanese corporations can be strengthened in several fields, in particular cyber-security, medical equipment and information technology.
According to the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, until recent years, economic ties with Japan focused on trade, but recently the Japanese have shown increasing interest in Israel as a center of innovation and entrepreneurship. As a result, the Japanese are expected to show growing interest in Israel, especially in light of preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the need to find cyber and information technology solutions. According to Amit Lang, Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, Israeli industry – renowned for a variety of startups and innovative solutions it offers –complements the Japanese industry. Japan – home to some of the world's largest corporations – is characterized by extraordinary corporate discipline and by production capabilities among the highest in the world. The meeting of these different capabilities creates diverse opportunities for both sides.
Last November, as part of a visit to promote Israeli industry in Japan, Director General Lang inaugurated Israel's trade mission in Osaka. The Osaka mission focuses on developing economic and trade ties between Israel and Japanese companies from the Kansai region.
Japan is an important trade partner for Israel. In 2015, Israeli exports to the island country reached some $770 million. Imports to Israel reached $1.3 billion. The main export sectors are optics and lab equipment, electric and mechanical machines, medical and pharmaceuticals.