Japan on Thursday praised the US for its measured response in the wake of Wednesday's missile strikes by Iran on US airbases in Iraq. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lauded the US' decision to respond to the attacks with restraint, using economic sanctions instead of a direct military confrontation, Efe news reported.
Addressing reporters at his official residence, Kantei, Abe said Japan has been urging all parties to exercise restraint, and that they supported the measured response by the US, according to the state-owned NHK broadcaster. He added that Japan, which has been trying to mediate between the US and Iran for some time, will continue to use diplomatic means to diffuse and stabilise the situation in the Middle East.
Iran fired over a dozen missiles on two American military bases in Iraq on Wednesday in response to a US drone strike that killed Quds Force commander General Qasem Soleimani outside Baghdad's international airport last week.
US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper said Iran launched 16 short-range ballistic missiles from three locations within Iran, adding out of 16 missiles, 11 hit the Ayn al-Asad air base and at least one landed at a base near Erbil, adding that the missiles damaged tents, taxiways, parking lots and a helicopter.
Following the attacks on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump made an address from the White House saying his country would be imposing fresh sanctions on Iran which would remain in place until the country "changes its behaviour." "As we continue to evaluate options in response to Iranian aggression, the United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime," Trump said.
He underlined that the US forces "suffered no casualties" and only "minimal damage" was sustained at the military bases hit by Iran.
Relations between the US and Iran began to strain after Trump unilaterally decided to withdraw his country from the 2015 nuclear pact signed by Iran and six world powers -- the US, Russia, China, France, the UK and Germany -- to limit its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
Since then, Washington has reimposed sanctions, while Tehran has stopped complying with the limitations laid down in the agreement.