AJC CEO Ted Deutch Seeks To Strengthen Israel-Asia Pacific Relations On His First Trip To Japan And South Korea

“Japan and South Korea’s support of Israel following the Oct. 7 terror attack by Hamas is a reflection of a strong bond between the two nations forged by an unstinting commitment to democracy and economic ties that have propelled both nations’ growth,” American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO Ted Deutch said.

Deutch was joined on a mission to Japan and South Korea at the recently by AJC Board of Governors Chair Bobby Lapin and AJC Asia Pacific Institute (API) Chair Bob Peckar, in his first trip to Japan and South Korea as CEO.

“Throughout all of our meetings in Japan, what was made abundantly clear is the opportunity to expand the Japan-Israel relationship,” Deutch said. “In every meeting with the senior leadership of Japan, the officials expressed condolences for the October 7 terror attack, condemnation of Hamas, and support for Israel and the Jewish community.”

The group met with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hayashi Yoshimasa, Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamikawa Yoko, Minister of Defense Kihara Minoru, Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Saito Ken, National Security Advisor Akiba Takeo, and Ambassador of Israel to Japan Gilad Cohen.

“Japan’s support for Israel after October 7 and in the weeks and months since is a reflection of the momentum we’ve seen over the past decade in this relationship and – we hope – a harbinger of growth going forward,” Deutch said. “The Japan-Israel relationship is not only imperative for economic growth, but also to support democracy around the world and counter the autocratic, dangerous alliance growing between Russia, China, and North Korea. Stability in East Asia is linked to stability in Europe and the Middle East. Strengthening these ties as well as the critical U.S.-Japan relationship, which is stronger than ever, is incredibly important, and I am hopeful for the future.”

Also on the mission were AJC Asia Pacific Institute Director Shira Loewenberg, AJC Executive Council and API Board Member Clifford Goldstein; AJC Board of Governors member Marcie Goldstein; API Board Member Randall Chafetz; National Leadership Council members Eve Lapin, Lisa Strauss-Chafetz, Kathryn Fleischer and David Stein, and AJC New York President Robert Skolnick.

In South Korea, the group met with South Korean First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Hong-kyun, National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo, Ambassador of Israel to South Korea Akiva Tor, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Philip Goldberg, and Rev. Billy Kim, Chairman of Far East Broadcasting Company and Pastor Emeritus of Central Baptist Church.

“The U.S.-South Korea alliance, underpinned by our shared commitment to democratic values, is a relationship mirrored by the U.S. relationship with Israel. Both are natural partners in our shared mission of strengthening a rules-based global order where bad actors who seek to create chaos are deterred,” Loewenberg said. “The issues we face today are inextricably linked – Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine, the unprovoked Hamas attack on Israel — backed by Iran, and North Korea’s provocative actions all threaten global stability. We must continue to strengthen the relationships between the U.S., South Korea, and Israel as we work towards a more peaceful, prosperous, and stable future.”

For more than three decades, AJC has promoted American and Israeli ties with Japan and South Korea. AJC Asia Pacific Institute has worked closely with government officials, foreign policy analysts, and other thought leaders to deepen understanding and relationships. Together with AJC Project Interchange, API has brought three delegations of Japanese government officials and two delegations of Korean diplomats and foreign policy leaders to Israel.

In this current period of conflict, AJC has been heartened by statements of solidarity with Israel from Tokyo and Seoul, demonstrating all the more the importance of our engagement with Japan and South Korea.

 AJC’s Asia Pacific Institute (API) was founded in 1989, even before the balance of economic and political power in the world began to shift toward Asia. Today, the organization plays a significant role in expanding the relationships of Israel and the global Jewish community with Asian Americans and Asian countries. Headquartered in New York, API has representation in Southeast Asia, Tokyo, Washington, D.C., and New Delhi.

AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 24 offices across the United States, 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world. For more, visit www.ajc.org.