TOKYO, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday said he was in support of the measured response the United States has shown in response to Iran launching a missile strike on Iraqi bases hosting U.S. troops.
"Japan has been urging all parties involved to exercise self-restraint so it's our stance that we support the restrained response by the United States," Abe said at his office.
"We will continue to make all possible diplomatic efforts to ease and stabilize the situation in the Middle East," Abe added.
Abe's remarks were made following U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday saying the United States will not respond to Iran's attack with a further military attack.
Iran's missile strike on Wednesday was a reprisal for the U.S. killing Qassem Soleimani, late commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, in an airstrike last week, sources familiar with the matter here said.
The Japanese Defense Ministry on Thursday, meanwhile, said its minister Taro Kono spoke to Iran's Defense Minister Amir Hatami by phone, in talks marking the first between the pair since October.
Japan's defense ministry said the talks traversed a range of issues pertaining to the Middle East including those related to peace and security in the region.
Japan has sought to maintain friendly ties in the region as the resource-poor nation relies on the area for more than 90 percent of its crude oil imports.
Japan has, to a limited affect, attempted to mediate between its U.S. ally and Iran, the latter of which it maintains friendly ties, to try and help deescalate the situation.
Japan has mentioned no change in a plan to send Self-Defense Forces personnel and hardware to the region to ensure the safe navigation of commercial region.
Both opposition lawmakers and the public are opposed to the move, with Jun Azumi, the Diet affairs chief of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan calling on the government to scrap the highly divisive and contentious plan, in light of ongoing tensions in the region that could still flare up and see the region become a war zone, and the nation's war-renouncing Constitution.
"It would be inconceivable to send troops amid heightened tensions," Azumi said, a sentiment backed by other opposition parties and the public, who have rallied outside the prime minister's office in staunch protest to the move.