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    FILE - In this May 31, 2010 file photo the Mavi Marmara ship, the lead boat of a flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip which was stormed by Israeli naval commandos in a predawn confrontation, sails into the port of Ashdod, Israel.

    Top Japan Military Official Makes First Visit to Israel Following Establishment of Relations

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Chief of the Japan Self-Defence Forces (SDF) General Koji Yamazaki paid a historic visit to Israel, a first since the two nations established diplomatic relations in the 1950s, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said Friday.

    "For the 1st time since diplomatic relations btwn Japan & Israel started, the Chief of Japan's Self Defense Forces visited the IDF. General Koji Yamazaki & IDF Chief of General Staff, LTG Aviv Kohavi met to discuss the potential to further the partnership btwn their militaries", the IDF tweeted.

    According to Israeli media, Yamazaki discussed the regional situation, as well as challenges and opportunities with the top Israeli military officials.

    Israeli-Japanese ties were officially established in 1952. After decades of little contact, Tokyo is reportedly turning to its distant ally seeking closer ties, primarily in tech and defence. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu have met and held conversations several times in recent years.

    According to Article 9 of the Japanese constitution enacted after World War II, in 1947, Japan pledged to never maintain "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential" and would "forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes".

    In 1954, Japan established its military Self-Defence Forces, the functions of which are limited to self-defence and peacekeeping. Over the past few years, however, the SDF has become one of the world's top-10 best-equipped armies.

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