The Japanese government said on Friday that it is "worried" about the expansion of Israeli settlements in Jerusalem, the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds reported.
The information secretary of the Japanese foreign ministry said in a statement: "In the light of the announcement of new settlement units in East Jerusalem, the Japanese government expresses its deep concern."
"The Israeli announcement [to build new settlements in Jerusalem] undermines the current security situation in the city, especially in the light of increasing tension. This is clearly opposing international efforts exerted to reach a ceasefire in Gaza and achieve a two-state solution."
According to the statement, the Japanese official said: "Japan considers the settlement activities a violation of international law and so has been calling on Israel to completely freeze it."
He also said: "Japan is calling for a strong Israel to abstain from any unilateral action that might change the situation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank… in order to advance the peace process."
The statement called for both sides to have mutual confidence in each other and to continue their efforts to achieve peace.