Japan to send Japanese Self-Defense Forces to the Middle East as soon as next month

 A Japanese government source said on the 13th that the government will dispatch a Maritime Self-Defense Force to the Middle East waters as soon as the second half of January 2020 to perform intelligence gathering and maritime security protection tasks.

    The government proposed a draft at the meeting of members of the Liberal Democratic Party of the ruling party that day, and it has the support of Liberal Democratic Party members. Kyodo News reported that the Japanese government approved the draft dispatch as soon as possible at a cabinet meeting on the 23rd.

    The Maritime Self-Defense Force has a one-year mission and the sea area is limited to the high seas in the Gulf of Oman, the northern Arabian Sea and the east side of the Strait of Mande. About 250 Maritime Self-Defense Force members will travel to the Middle East after a month-long training. A helicopter-capable frigate and an anti-submarine patrol aircraft will be deployed.

    The frigate is expected to take 3 weeks from departure to arrival in the destination area.

    Kyodo News reports that the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force mission will be independent of the so-called “escort alliance” of the United States.

    The United States is trying to form a “escort alliance” in the Gulf waters. There are not many responders, and most European allies such as Germany are unwilling to join. Many European countries are worried that the involvement of extraterritorial forces in the situation in the Gulf will not help navigation safety, but may increase regional tension.

Updated: December 15, 2019 — 8:34 am

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