Remarks by Director-General for the Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau Hideaki Domichi of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Ambassador of the State of Israel to Japan Eli Cohen

March 23, 2004

On March 23, from 9:30am for approximately half an hour, Director-General for the Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau Hideaki Domichi of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) conveyed to Ambassador of the State of Israel to Japan Eli Cohen a number of points concerning the killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin by the Israeli military on March 22. The following is the summary of their meeting.

  1. Director-General Domichi made the follwing statements:

    (1) The killing of the Hamas spiritual leader, Sheik Ahmed Yassin on March 22 was a thoughtless and unjustifiable act giving no consideration of its consequences. It gravely impairs the realization of peace, and is profoundly regrettable.

    (2) We are deeply apprehensive that the killing would not only lead to the expansion of the chain of hatred and violence, making more difficult the realization of peace between Israelis and the Palestinians, but also negatively impact the entire Middle East region. We, thus, condemn the act of Israel.

    (3) The Government of Japan strongly urges Israel to exercise maximum self-restraint in order to prevent further deterioration of the situation.

  2. In response, Ambassador Cohen made the following statements:

    (1) Sheikh Yassin, the leader of Hamas had until now directed the terrorist acts of radical extremists and was the person responsible for the death of many Israelis. He was not different from Osama bin Laden.

    (2) Currently, the Palestinian Authority is unable to control acts of terrorism and is in a situation where no way remains open towards peace. The assassination of Sheikh Yassin, the leader of Hamas has been conducted in response to the suicide bombing including the one in Port Ashdod last week, on March 14.

    (3) The points made by the Government of Japan will be conveyed to the Government of Israel.

  3. In response, Director-General Domichi stated that the assassination of Sheikh Yassin had aroused great anger not only in the Palestinian Territories region but also among neighboring countries, and would ultimately not contribute to calming the situation. Japan requests further efforts by the Government of Israel to calm the situation.

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