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Japan presses for soft-approach in Gaza Conflict

While Japan has condemned the terrorist attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups, it has also expressed grave concern about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip

Photo by Austin Crick / Unsplash

Japan has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting a two-state solution and providing humanitarian aid to Palestine. In Oct, however, Japan announced sanctions against nine people and a company over their alleged links to the Palestinian armed group Hamas.

Over the years, the country's policy towards Palestine has evolved while maintaining friendly ties with Iran. This article will delve into Japan's stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict, its aid initiatives, and its diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions.

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Since 1973, Japan has recognized the legitimacy of the Palestinian state, further solidifying its commitment to the Palestinian cause. Japan has consistently supported the Palestinians' right to self-determination and their aspiration to establish an independent state. In total, Japan's assistance to Palestine has exceeded $2.3 billion since 1993, focusing on financial aid and developmental assistance to foster economic stability as a foundation for peace.

Japan and Humanitarian Aid

In October 2023, Japan pledged $65 million in humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip. This significant assistance covers support for the Palestinians and supplies for the Gaza Strip. It is in addition to the $10 million emergency aid previously announced by Japan.

While Japan has condemned the terrorist attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups, it has also expressed grave concern about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. Recognizing the need to address the crisis, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno emphasized the importance of providing aid and support to alleviate the suffering of civilians affected by the ongoing conflict.

Japan has traditionally maintained friendly ties with Iran, and in October 2023, Japan's Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa called upon Iran to play a role in defusing the Israel-Hamas war. She highlighted the importance of continued close communication between Tokyo and Tehran, underscoring Japan's commitment to promoting peace and stability in the region. Minister Kamikawa also pledged $10 million in aid specifically for civilians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, in response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Two-state solution

Over the decades, Japan has actively supported various peace initiatives and consistently advocated for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. The country firmly believes that Israel and a future independent Palestinian state should coexist in peace and security, side by side. Japan's policy aims to foster economic and social development, poverty reduction, and humanitarian assistance. However, Japan also balances its approach and expressions of support with caution, as seen in its reserved stance during the Israel-Hamas war.

The turn of the century marked a gradual shift in Japan's approach towards Israel. While Japan eagerly joined the Western camp in response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine, it remained cautious in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. This reserved stance showcased Japan's discreet balancing act between the two sides. Despite this shift, Japan's core goal remains ensuring peace and stability in the region, guided by the principle of a two-state solution.

Financial Assistance

Japan's policy towards Palestine underscores its unwavering commitment to a two-state solution and its belief in supporting economic stability as a basis for peace. The country's recognition of the Palestinian state, financial assistance, and humanitarian aid initiatives exemplify its dedication to promoting the well-being of the Palestinian people.

As Japan maintains diplomatic ties with Iran, it seeks to leverage this partnership to defuse tensions and facilitate dialogue in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Ultimately, Japan's stance in the conflict reflects its conscientious efforts to navigate a delicate balancing act while prioritizing peace and security in the region.