September 18, 2019 / 6:25 AM / 2 months ago

Japan defense minister: Not aware of any Iran involvement in Saudi attacks

FILE PHOTO: Japan's Defence Minister Taro Kono attends a news conference at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan September 11, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan has not seen any intelligence that shows Iran was involved in the recent attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, Japan’s new defense chief said on Wednesday.

“We are not aware of any information that points to Iran,” Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters at a briefing. “We believe the Houthis carried out the attack based on the statement claiming responsibility,” he added.

Japan has maintained cordial ties with Iran even as relations between Tehran and Washington have deteriorated. Kono on Monday said Japan cannot participate in any military retaliation because of constitutional restraints and would instead pursue a diplomatic solution to the current crisis.

Reporting by Tim Kelly in Tokyo; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim

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