January 6(UPI)-- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed \"deep concern\" about the current situation in the Middle East at a press conference on Saturday amid sudden tensions over the assassination of Iranian General Sergei Suleimani. In addition to calling on countries to work diplomatically to ease tensions, Abe said Japan's contribution of self-defence forces to the Middle East remains unchanged.
\"[ The] heightened tension in the Middle East and I am deeply concerned about the status quo,\" Abe said at his first press conference at the beginning of the year, according to Japan's Daily News. We hope that all States concerned will do their utmost to ease the tension through diplomatic efforts.\"
At the end of 2019, Japan officially decided to send maritime self-defence forces to the Middle East, and said the move was aimed at “investigation and study ” to ensure the safety of Japanese ships in the Middle East and to collect the necessary information. 6, Abe said the decision to send self-defence forces remained unchanged, and again stressed:" the dispatch of self-defence forces to cooperate with diplomatic efforts to collect information and ensure the safety of Japanese ships sailing."
On January 3, the Pentagon announced that U.S. forces had launched a missile attack on the airport area in Baghdad, killing the Iranian \"Al-Quds Brigade\" commander, Kasim Suleimani, and Abu Mahdi Mohamedis, deputy leader of the Shiite militia group People's Mobilization. Iran's Supreme National Security Council says it will do everything it can to avenge Suleimani.
Back last year (2019) in June, Abe visited Iran for separate talks with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. It was the first time the Japanese prime minister had met with Iran's Supreme Leader since the Islamic Revolution founded the Islamic Republic 41 years later. Japan, which has rarely been directly involved in regional disputes in the Middle East, has played a high-profile role as a \"mediator \", according to media reviews. Mr. Abe wants to play a diplomatic role in Japan internationally and become an indispensable strategic partner for the United States, said one of the professors at the University of Hokkaido's School of Public Policy. (Suning, King of Overseas)