On Thursday, the Israeli ambassador to Japan cautioned that Japan should exercise caution and closely examine how Hamas utilizes the aid it provides to Palestinians.
After Hamas’ surprise attack on Israeli towns bordering Gaza on Oct. 7, the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF, began bombarding the besieged area.
The IDF’s shelling killed up to 1,200 Palestinians, including children, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.
Meanwhile, Israel’s death toll also reached 1,200, with up to 2,700 wounded, a military spokesperson confirmed.
“Japan should be vigilant and look at what Hamas is doing with the aid,” Gilan Cohen told journalists at a press conference.
He commended Japan for acknowledging the Hamas attacks as “terrorism” and for saying Israel had a right to defend itself.
Japan, which calls for a political solution to allow Israel and a future independent Palestine to coexist, provides assistance to Palestinians through various schemes. That assistance totaled $2.3 billion over the last decade, according to a Foreign Ministry document issued in June.
Japan imports more than 90 percent of its crude oil from the Middle East.
“We firmly condemn the terrorist attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups,” Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a regularly scheduled press conference on Thursday.
“At the same time, the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is becoming more serious day by day and we are closely monitoring the situation in the region with serious concern,” Matsuno said.
On Oct. 9, Japan did not join five G7 members’ joint statement in support of Israel after deadly attacks by Hamas from Gaza.
Matsuno told Arab News Japan that the Asian country’s absence from the statement is attributed to the “desire to maintain flexibility in its approach, while actively working behind the scenes to mediate and exert influence on both Palestine and Israel.”
Israel on Saturday ordered its state-run electricity company to halt energy supply to the Gaza Strip.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, if the ban on the entry of fuel into Gaza continues, their services will stop “within four days.”