On Wednesday, U.S. forces launched several airstrikes against the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killing high-ranking Iranian and Iraqi military personnel in Iran and Iraq. On Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also played golf on New Year's holiday, was asked what he thought of the situation in the Middle East. Mr Abe, however, shied away and did not answer reporters'questions directly.
Shinzo Abe was playing on the golf course in Chiba Prefecture on Thursday when he was interviewed by the media, Kyodo news agency reported. Asked by reporters about Abe's views on the tense situation in the Middle East, Abe did not answer the question directly, saying only that \"if the form permits, I am ready to visit the Middle East this month.\"