Japan PM Abe sticks to plan to deploy Self-Defense Forces to Middle East

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe repeated his plans to deploy the Self-Defense Forces to the Middle East to ensure the safety of its ships, even as tensions in the region erupt in the wake of the United States’ killing of one of Iran’s top military commanders.

At a televised news conference on Monday, Abe called on nations involved to make diplomatic efforts to ease tensions and avoid further escalation.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Qassem Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force via an air-strike.

Early in 2019, Prime Minister Abe wanted to “make every effort to reduce tension” between the United States and Iran before responding to an expected US request to send its navy to safeguard strategic waters off Iran, according to a report by Reuters.

He then also emphasized Japan’s “long tradition of friendship” with Iran in a statement.

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