Each year, France invites a country to join the huge military parade down the Champs-Elysées avenue on July 14, the country’s national holiday.
Last summer, President Emmanuel Macron asked his American counterpart Donald Trump to be his guest of honour, but this year invited Mr Abe in an attempt to bolster defence ties with France’s partners in the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr Abe was expected to attend the celebration alongside Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the second guest of honour, but will now be replaced by his Foreign Minister, Taro Kono.
Singapore is one of the French air force’s key allies in southeast Asia, and the city state has sent scores of fighter pilots for training in France over the past 20 years. The Bastille Day parade will also celebrate 160 years of diplomatic relations between Paris and Tokyo.
Both Japan and Singapore have been asked to send troops to march alongside some 4,000 members of the French armed forces, police and gendarmerie.
Mr Macron, for his part, “expressed his condolences to the flood victims and their families during a phone call with Mr Abe,” the French presidency said on Tuesday, adding that France expressed solidarity with Japan in light of the “terrible ordeal”.
“France’s thoughts will be with our Japanese friends,” the Elysée Palace said.
Mr Abe cancelled the overseas trip to deal with Japan’s worst weather-related disaster since 1983. The trip would have taken the Japanese leader to Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Torrential rains unleashed floods and triggered landslides last week, killing at least 176 people and forcing several millions from their homes. Dozens of people are still reported missing.
Toshihiro Nikai, the general secretary of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told reporters on Monday that cancelling the trip was “unavoidable” in light of the disaster.
A Brussels summit between European leaders and Japan to sign a free trade accord was also postponed after the deadly floods, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s spokesman, Margaritis Schinas, said on Monday.
“The two sides agreed that the EU-Japan summit scheduled to take place in Brussels this Wednesday will instead take place in Tokyo next week on the 17th of July,” Mr Schinas told reporters in Brussels.