Israel seeks stronger ties with Japan to fight nuclear threat

Israel Materials 28 February 2008 17:28 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Visiting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Tokyo on Thursday stressed the need for Israel-Japan cooperation in fighting terrorism and the spread of nuclearization caused by an "axis of evil."

Olmert criticized states including North Korea as members of an "axis of evil," which causes military imbalance, Kyodo News Agency quoted the premier as saying.

"My judgment is that there is an axis of evil, which combines North Korea, Iran, the Syrians, Hezbollah and the Hamas ... all these countries and organizations which are joining forces together in order to upset the balance to develop nonconventional weapons and to threaten the moderate countries," Olmert said at a news conference in Tokyo.

"Israel is naturally one of them," the premier was quoted as saying.

Olmert met with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on Wednesday and the two discussed the "threat posed by the nuclearization of North Korea" and how they can cooperate in containing nuclear proliferation.

The Israeli leader said that North Korea, in an attempt to become a nuclear power, was suspected of spreading nuclearization to other parts of the world.

"And this is something that must be carefully examined," Olmert said.

Olmert, who is the first Israeli premier to visit Japan since Benjamin Netanyahu in August 1997, met with Japan's foreign minister and defence minister.