Japan will try to help ease tensions between US and Iran — defense minister

TASS – Japan will make consistent diplomatic efforts to help ease tensions between the United States and Iran, Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told a press conference on Tuesday after talks with his US counterpart Mark Esper.

“First of all, we have discussed with the Pentagon chief the situation in the Middle East, including the latest developments in Iran. Mark Esper explained how the US forces are operating in the region. I said that we will make consistent diplomatic efforts to ease tensions and stabilize the situation in the region,” Kono said.

“I also talked about the [Japanese] government’s decision last December to send Japan Self-Defense Forces to the region,” he added.

The situation in the Middle East escalated on January 3, when the United States delivered air strikes at the area near the Baghdad airport, killing commander of Iran’s Quds Force Major General Qasem Soleimani. In response, Tehran delivered air strikes at two facilities in Iraq used by US forces – Ayn al Asad air base and airport in Erbil.