Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo would do all it could to ease tension between the United States and Iran before responding to Washington's expected request to join an international naval alliance in the Gulf.
Abe told a news conference on Monday, a day after his coalition took the lead in the Senate elections, that Japan had "a long tradition of friendship with Iran," noting that he had repeatedly met Iranian President Hassan Rowhani.
"Before making any decision, Japan would like to do everything possible to ease tensions between Iran and the United States," he said.
The Japanese prime minister said that Tokyo needs to gather information on the positions of the US administration and its objectives, adding that Japan and the United States are still in close contact in this regard.
Abe had confirmed yesterday that Tokyo had not yet made a decision on joining the alleged coalition or not.
In the meantime, Japanese media reported that the initiative of the Maritime Alliance, which Washington wants to establish to secure shipping lines off the coast of Iran and Yemen was among the topics discussed by the National Security Adviser at the White House, John Bolton, in Tokyo yesterday with his Japanese counterpart Shotaro Yashi, Taro Kono.
The US initiative came against the backdrop of increased tensions in the Gulf region, due to the continued escalation between the United States and Iran and a series of incidents targeting commercial ships near the Strait of Hormuz that America and Saudi Arabia blame on Tehran.
Abe visited Tehran last June in a bid to mediate between the Islamic Republic and the United States, but with little success.