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Abe voices concern about Middle East situation

  • January 7, 2020
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All national dailies took up remarks made to the press yesterday by Prime Minister Abe. He reportedly expressed deep concern about the rising tensions in the Middle East following the U.S. military’s killing of the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Abe reportedly did not comment specifically on the U.S. military operation or Tehran’s announcement on Sunday that it will move further away from the terms of the Iran nuclear agreement. While quoting the premier as saying, “We call on all relevant parties to make diplomatic efforts to ease tensions. Japan will tirelessly make diplomatic efforts to ease tensions and bring stability to the region,” Asahi speculated his remarks represent his desire to avoid displeasing either Washington or Tehran.   


Yomiuri said the GOJ is concerned that the rapid escalation of hostility between Washington and Tehran will disrupt the stable supply of Middle East oil to Japan. The paper speculated that PM Abe plans to confirm with leaders in the region mutual coordination to deescalate the situation when he visits Saudi Arabia and the UAE later this month. The daily also noted that Tokyo is committed to deploying MSDF assets to the region later this month irrespective of the situation there. Senior Vice Foreign Minister Wakamiya said on a television program last night: “Ensuring the safety of Japanese vessels is of foremost importance. It is necessary for Japan to do whatever it can.” However, Sankei conjectured that Japan may delay the dispatch of a destroyer that is currently scheduled for early February.    


According to Mainichi, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga appeared live on a TV show last night and said regarding the U.S. operation to take out General Soleimani: “Given that I don’t know the details of the situation, I should refrain from making offhand remarks.” As for the SDF deployment to the Middle East, the government spokesman reportedly stated: “About 90 percent of our oil comes from the Middle East. As countries around the world are making contributions, Japan cannot do nothing…. We’ve given detailed briefings both to the U.S. and Iran.”

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