Olmert Off to Japan

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, accompanied by 20 of the nation's leading businessmen, left for Japan Sunday afternoon under tight security.

During the five-day visit, Olmert will meet with Japanese Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.

Olmert will also meet with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice while in Japan, though she is due in Jerusalem the following week.

Among the people accompanying the prime minister are Shraga Brosh, president of the Manufacturers Association of Israel; Israel Makov, chairman of the Japan-Israel chamber of commerce; and Orna Berry, chairwoman of Gemini Israel Funds and former chief scientist of the Industry and Trade Ministry.

Along with meetings designed to expand economic trade between Israel and Japan, Olmert reportedly will discuss the Iranian nuclear threat, sanctions on the Gaza Strip and Kassam rocket attacks on southern Israel.

The visit was postponed several times because of security and diplomatic concerns.

The Israeli delegation will be under tight security due to threats by the Lebanese-based Hezbollah following the assassination of terrorist mastermind Imad Mugniyeh.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will replace the prime minister until his return Friday.

Sources: YNet news service, The Jerusalem Post

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