The Israeli Ministry of Economy recently inaugurated a new Osaka branch in a sign of strengthening economic relations between Israel and Japan.

The office will serve as an executive branch of the Israeli trade mission in Tokyo for meetings and for creating opportunities with local companies in the Kansai region and western Japan, including Panasonic, Sharp, Omaron, Murata, Suntory, Kyocera and others.

“Over the past year, there has been a noted increase in the interest of Japanese companies in Israel in a variety of fields, evidenced by the arrival of Japanese companies to Israel and their willingness to host Israeli companies in Japan,” said Amit Lang, Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Economy.

“Establishing a trade office in Osaka together with the backing the Israeli Ministry of Economy gives companies active in Japan bolsters their ability to break into the Japanese market and their chances of success.”

Lang also headed a business delegation of Israeli automotive supply companies in Japan.

Denso and Toyota hosted Israeli innovation days at their respective offices.

Denso, the world’s leading manufacturer of car parts, paired representatives of Israeli companies with representatives from Denso’s purchasing, network and security departments and others.

At Toyota, members of the Israeli delegation met with more than 50 representatives from the purchasing and R&D departments of the Japanese company.

“This is the first time in which Toyota managers agreed to host such a delegation,” said Noa Asher, the Israeli Ministry of Economy’s Trade Representative in Japan. “This is a significant sign that Japanese automakers are beginning to see Israel as a source of technological innovation and that the solutions being developed in Israel will help Japanese companies win the hearts of car buyers.”

According to the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, trade between Israel and Japan reached $2.3 billion in 2014, with exports reaching $800 million and imports $1.5 billion.