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Japan supports the US against Iran, but demands restraint

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stated that he stands with the US in its response to missile attacks on US bases in Iraq.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Abe said his country has called on all parties involved to exercise restraint, adding that their position is to support the US “contained response”.

“We will continue to make every possible diplomatic effort to ease and stabilize the situation in the Middle East,” Abe said.

In the wake of recent Iranian attacks, it is reported that Abe canceled his planned trip to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, which was scheduled for this weekend.

The Japanese government approved the deployment of Self-Defense Force personnel in areas in the region to protect its merchant ships that bring 90 percent of crude oil imports to Japan.

Hassan Rouhani, meanwhile, was the first Iranian president to visit Japan in the past 19 years, after meeting with Prime Minister Abe in bilateral talks in December.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Iran launched rocket attacks on US bases in Iraq. The attacks came in the wake of last week’s assassination of Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) Quds elite forces, in an air strike outside Baghdad International Airport.

According to Iranian state television, 80 US citizens were killed in ballistic missile strikes on Iraqi military bases. But US President Donald Trump said no American has been harmed in Iran’s attacks on US forces in Iraq.

Following the Iranian attacks, President Trump responded with a warning of tough economic sanctions on Tehran, but did not signal any additional US military action.

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