FILE PHOTO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin following their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia May 26, 2018. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor
TOKYO - 11 January 2020: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe embarked on a five-day trip to the Middle East on Saturday as part of Tokyo’s efforts to help reduce tensions in a critical region for resource-poor Japan, The Japan Times reported.
The trip will take him to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, countries which Japan sees as important players in stabilizing the situation in the Middle East, according to Japanese officials.
“Japan will take its own initiative to tenaciously conduct peace diplomacy so as to ease tensions and stabilize the situation in the region,” Abe told journalists before leaving Tokyo’s Haneda airport.
Abe said he wants to win support from the three countries for the SDF dispatch to the region since it is vital to ensure the safety of Japanese commercial ships operating there.
In Saudi Arabia, Abe plans to meet with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday.
He will travel to the United Arab Emirates on Monday for a meeting with Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In Oman, the Japanese leader is expected to hold talks Tuesday with Sayyid Asaad bin Tariq bin Taimur Al Said, deputy prime minister for international relations and cooperation affairs and special representative for the sultan of Oman.
Abe is seeking to do his part in bringing stability to the Middle East, from which Japan gets most of its crude oil imports. Increased cooperation with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman is seen as key to securing stable energy supplies.