Tuesday, 01 May 2012 12:59
JERUSALEM: Japan's top diplomat on Tuesday reiterated Tokyo's concern over a strike on Iran's nuclear programme in an interview published as he began a two-day trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
"Japan is very concerned over the Iranian nuclear issue," Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba told the top-selling Yediot Aharonot daily, in remarks translated into Hebrew.
"The international community, including Japan, is putting unprecedented pressure on Iran, and the renewal of talks between the world powers and Iran is a result of this pressure," he said.
Six world powers, known as the P5+1 grouping of diplomats from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, held a first round of talks with Iran over its contested nuclear programme in Istanbul last month, with a second round due to take place in Baghdad on May 23.
Israel says a nuclear Iran would constitute an existential threat to the Jewish state and has not ruled out a pre-emptive strike on Tehran's nuclear facilities.
"The military option will not only give Iran an excuse to expedite its nuclear programme, but could also increase the instability in the region, which would threaten Israel," Gemba warned.
Gemba was due to arrive in Israel around midday for a two-day visit, which will see him meeting his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman in Jerusalem.
Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012