Abe's wife and son still live in Japan, which on Friday was hit by a huge earthquake and tsunami that caused widespread devastation and loss of life.

The 29-year-old was relieved to hear his family were safe as the magnitude of the quake was such that his home town of Ichikawa, near Tokyo, suffered substantial damage despite being around 300 kilometres away from the epicentre.

Abe said: "Obviously it was hard to hear what happened in Japan but I had to switch my mind on to the game, and I was hoping for a win to provide some good news.

"I was determined to play. Everyone in the squad and the coaching staff were concerned for me but I knew I had to give everything and try not to show my concern in my performance."

Abe joined Leicester from Urawa Red Diamonds last summer and has become a key figure in Sven-Goran Eriksson's side, who kept alive their hopes of securing a play-off place in the npower Championship with yesterday's victory.

Defender Miguel Vitor scored twice and Kyle Naughton netted the third 14 minutes from time, but Abe was unlucky not to add his name to the scoresheet after seeing his 25-yard effort crash off the bar.

The Japan international is still looking for his first goal in English football but he was happy with the performance at Glanford Park as the Foxes ended a run of four games without a win.

"If it was baseball, it would have been a home run," he said of his shot. "Next time I'll try to put it in the net. The match was good. We kept our concentration for the whole 90 minutes."