In Israel, Japan PM says committed to Mideast peace

Japan is determined to contribute even more proactively to world peace and stability

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Japan’s Prime Minster Shinzo Abe said on Monday that Tokyo was committed to working for Middle East peace during a visit to Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem.

“Japan is determined to contribute even more proactively to world peace and stability,” he said in a statement translated into English after touring the harrowing Yad Vashem memorial and museum.

“Today, I have learned how merciless humans can be by singling out a group of people and making that group the object of discrimination and hatred,” he said.

Abe laid a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance and restoked the “eternal flame” as is customary for international leaders and diplomats visiting the site.

He also paid tribute to late Japanese diplomat Chiune Sempo Sugihara, who is known one of the “righteous among the gentiles” who gave travel documents to some 3,500 Jews trying to escape the Nazi Holocaust while he was posted to Lithuania, and in whose honour a tree is planted at Yad Vashem.

“In March, last year, I visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Today, I find myself fully determined. The Holocaust, never again,” Abe said.

“This year as we mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of Auschwitz, I make a pledge that we should never ever let such tragedies be repeated.”

After visiting the memorial, Abe - the first Japanese premier to visit Israel in nine years - then held separate talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.

He will on Tuesday travel to the West Bank to meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, thereby wrapping up his six-day tour of the region which began with a visit to Egypt and Jordan.

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