Germany says won't follow US strategy on Iran
Japanese media have said a US proposal to boost surveillance of Middle East oil shipping lanes off Iran and Yemen could be on the agenda during this week's visit by US national security adviser John Bolton.
Abe said that before making a decision on joining the United States, Japan would like to fulfil what it sees as a unique role it has to play in reducing tension.
"We have a long tradition of friendship with Iran and I've met with its president any number of times, as well as other leaders," Abe told a news conference a day after his coalition's victory in an election for parliament's upper house.
Japan needed to gather information on what the United States is thinking and what it hoped to accomplish, Abe said, adding that the two allies remained in close contact.
Last month, Abe traveled to Iran carrying a message from US President Donald Trump for direct talks with no preconditions. However, Iran turned down the offer, with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei telling the Japanese premier that the American head of state was not "worthy" of a response.
Bolton, who heads to South Korea after Japan, met Japanese national security adviser Shotaro Yachi and Foreign Minister Taro Kono and later described his talks with Kono as "useful".
"We had a very productive discussion, we talked about a very wide range of issues," Bolton told reporters.
In recent weeks, the United States has blamed Iran for a string of incidents in the Strait of Hormuz, an important shipping alley in the oil trade bordering one coast of Iran. Iran has denied the accusations.
De-escalation is priority
Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday the country will not follow Trump's approach to Iran, instead prioritizing de-escalation through diplomacy.
Maas said in Paris on Monday that Germany does not want to join in the US maximum-pressure strategy.
Following discussions with British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Sunday and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Monday, the German diplomat said that alongside handling the dangers in the Strait of Hormuz, Europe will continue to play the "diplomatic card".
He said "what we need is de-escalation, and my British and French colleagues have the same opinion."
Reuters, AP and Press TV contributed to this story.