Abe, U.S. lawmakers blame Assad gov't for worsening situation in Syria

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday met with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and four other senators, and all agreed that responsibility for the worsening situation in Syria lies with the administration of President Bashar al-Assad.

Abe emphasized chemical weapons are "highly likely to have been used" in Syria, and Gillibrand said she was saddened by the loss of many innocent lives, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Abe and the U.S. lawmakers also agreed that Japan and the United States should cooperate closely on the issues of North Korea and cyber security, the ministry said.

Gillibrand said the Japan-U.S. security alliance is crucial to the United States, and asserted the two countries should coordinate their response to issues involving North Korea.

"The Japan-U.S. security arrangements are extremely important to the peace and stability of not only Japan but the whole region," Abe was quoted as saying.

Gillibrand, New York's junior Democratic senator, chairs the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel.