Japan urges Israel to show ‘maximal restraint’ on Iran

Foreign minister, visiting Jerusalem, says international sanctions should be given more time to work

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Koichiro Gemba during his visit in Jerusalem on Wednesday (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Koichiro Gemba during his visit in Jerusalem on Wednesday (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Japan is urging Israel to demonstrate “maximal restraint” regarding Iran and allow time for international sanctions to take effect, Israel Radio reported Wednesday.

Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba met with his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Liberman, in Jerusalem on Wednesday, and told him an Israeli strike on Iran would not only cause turmoil and chaos in the region, but would also give the regime in Tehran an excuse to continue pushing its program forward. The international sanctions and leverage against Iran were unprecedented, he said. He stressed that Japan shared Israel’s fear of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was still mourning his father, who passed away on Monday, and conversed with the Japanese foreign minister by phone instead of meeting him in person.

A similar message of caution over Iran was relayed to Netanyahu several weeks ago by French presidential hopeful Francois Hollande. Hollande sent Laurent Fabius, the man slated to be foreign minister if the Socalists win the general elections, with a message seeking calm, stating that Hollande shared current French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s view that Iran must not be allowed to attain nuclear weapons.

Earlier this month, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said there was a growing possibility that Israel was prepared to strike the Islamic republic’s nuclear facilities in the spring.

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