Japan’s ‘peace contributor’ role tested amid Iran tensions following Saudi oil attacks, japantimes.co.jp

[…] As world leaders gathered for the U.N. meetings, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sought to use the arena to call on both U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to work toward de-escalating the tensions in the Middle East, a critical region for resource-poor Japan.

“Because the situation is tough, there is something only Japan can do here, given its alliance relationship with the United States and the long-standing amicable ties with Iran,” Abe said at a news conference Sept. 25 in wrapping up his visit to New York.

As part of the delicate balancing act, Abe refrained from blaming any specific country for the attacks, even after Britain, France and Germany joined the U.S. on Sept. 23 in accusing Iran.

Abe also remained elusive on whether Japan will join a U.S.-led international maritime security coalition to safeguard commercial shipping in key waterways off Iran and Yemen. […]

Tetsuo Kotani, an associate professor at Meikai University, said it is no longer possible to ride out the situation without Japan offering actual contributions for maritime security in the Middle East, a region on which the country relies for more than 80 percent of its oil imports.

But he said Japan can choose less controversial options than joining the U.S.-led coalition. For example, the SDF can carry out surveillance activities off Yemen by diverting its forces that are already engaging in anti-piracy operations off Somalia. Läs artikel