The defense ministers of Japan and Israel agreed Tuesday to promote cooperation on defense equipment and technology, as the two nations mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties this year.

After a meeting in Tokyo, Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Gantz signed a memorandum on defense exchanges between their ministries. The document, originally drawn up in 2011, was updated to expand defense cooperation to equipment and technology, according to Japan's Defense Ministry.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada (R) shakes hands with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Gantz before their talks in Tokyo on Aug. 30, 2022. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

"Today, the two ancient nations, powerful democracies and engines of innovation, embark on a new venture, the partnership based on trust," Gantz said at the outset of the meeting, which was open to the press.

Gantz, who doubles as deputy prime minister, also said the war in Ukraine has shown that each country "must be prepared to defend itself."

Japan and Israel have yet to disclose what equipment or technology will be covered by the agreement. But a Japanese Defense Ministry official noted that Israel is a leader in cybersecurity and air defense systems.

Hamada was quoted by the ministry as saying during the meeting that a vision of a "free and open Indo-Pacific," promoted by Japan and the United States amid China's increasing clout, will also contribute to the development of the Middle East.

Also referring to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Hamada expressed opposition to any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo, according to the ministry.

The meeting was the first between Japanese and Israeli defense chiefs since February 2012.

Later in the day, Gantz met with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, who said Japan hopes measures to foster confidence between Israel and Palestine will lead to an easing of regional tensions, according to Japan's Foreign Ministry.

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