Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday cancelled his visit to the Middle East this weekend due to fresh tensions in the region.

Abe was scheduled start his visit to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman on Saturday ahead of its information-gathering dispatch of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to the Hormuz Strait, reports Efe news.

Japanese media reports that the government has decided to postpone the visit in the wake of Iran’s attack on two US military airbases in Iraq on Wednesday as a retaliation against Iranian Major General Qaesm Soleimani’s death in the January 3 American drone attack.

When asked about this issue at a media briefing, Japanese Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga neither confirmed or denied the information on the postponement of Abe’s trip to the Middle East.

Suga said they were currently analyzing the situation there and would take a decision accordingly.

He added that in recent hours Abe attended a national security meeting involving four ministers, but did not provide details.

However, Suga said that Abe had asked for all available information to be gathered and analyzed, and ordered for measures to protect all Japanese citizens in the region.

Suga underlined that Japan was “deeply worried by growing tensions in the Middle East and a further escalation should be avoided.”

“We ask all parties involved to exhaust diplomatic efforts to ease the tensions,” he said.