Japan offered condolences to Saudi Arabia on Friday following the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying, "Great sadness never ceases."

King Abdullah's death is a "great loss also for our country," Abe said in a statement, referring to his contributions in enhancing bilateral relations since his 1998 visit to Japan as crown prince, including the increase in Saudi students in Japan.

Abe also said King Abdullah "has played an extremely large role over a long time for peace and stability of the broad Islamic world and the international community as a whole and to strengthen friendly cooperative relations with foreign countries, especially to deepen international dialogues between religions and civilizations."

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference, "We wish to further our amicable relations based on the foundation built by King Abdullah."

They both expressed condolences to the House of Saud, the government of Saudi Arabia and its people.

The government also decided Friday to send former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to the oil-rich country as a special envoy to pay Japan's respects to the late king.