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Japanese prime minister begins his visit to the Middle East tomorrow

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will travel to the Middle East on a five-day visit Saturday to “help stabilize the region”.

According to local media reports, Japanese government cabinet secretary-general Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in the Tokyo capital that the prime minister will hold meetings with leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

“Abe will exchange views with the three countries that play important roles in easing tensions and stabilizing the situation in the region,” Suga said.

Earlier it was reported that Abe had given up plans to travel to the Middle East following last week’s killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a US air strike in Baghdad, Iraq.

The Japanese prime minister’s trip is linked to Tokyo’s plans to deploy Japanese forces in the Gulf of Oman, the northern part of the Arabian Sea, and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait that links the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

“He (Abe) plans to seek co-operation to ensure sustainable energy supplies and safe navigation,” Suga added.

Japan, the world’s number three economy, imports about 90 percent of its crude oil from the Middle East.

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