JERUSALEM (May. 30)
Japan’s foreign minister arrived in Israel on Thursday to discuss, among other things, Japan’s continued partial adherence to the Arab boycott of Israel.
Taro Nakayama created a moment of embarrassment almost immediately when he referred to the administered territories as “Palestine.”
The diplomatic faux pas was attributed to the fact that a conversation he had. just held with Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy was translated into English after each had spoken in his own language.
Levy, who had explained to his visitor the Israeli position on the Middle East peace process, charged that some Arab countries were setting preconditions for negotiations.
Nakayama said Japan supports the American peace efforts in the region and is prepared to play some sort of role.
He pointed to the Persian Gulf War as an example of the world’s readiness to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions, adding that Resolutions 242 and 338 should be applied to the administered territories.
At the same time, Nakayama cited Israel’s “realistic, flexible position” in the peace process.