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Abe to Visit Middle East as Planned

Abe to Visit Middle East as Planned

   Tokyo, Jan. 10 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit the Middle East for five days from Saturday as planned, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday.
   Abe's trip to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman is aimed at winning their understanding for the Japanese government's plan to send a Maritime Self-Defense Force unit to the Middle East to gather information in waters in the region.
   The Japanese government hopes to call for both the United States and Iran to hold back from provocative actions amid heightening bilateral tensions, government sources said.
   Suga told a news conference that Abe "will exchange views with (leaders of) the three countries, which are expected to play key roles in easing regional tensions and stabilizing the present situation, as part of his diplomatic efforts to avoid the further escalation of the situation."
   The prime minister will request "cooperation to ensure stable energy supplies and the safe navigation of vessels" in the region, Suga also said.

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AFP-JIJI PRESS NEWS JOURNAL


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