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Japan Not to Join US Military Operation in Mideast

Japan Not to Join US Military Operation in MideastJapan Not to Join US Military Operation in Mideast

A Maritime Self-Defense Force unit currently deployed in the Middle East will not take part in any exercise organized by the US military, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday.
While the MSDF unit will provide information to the US military once a day, it will “not come under the [US] command in military operations”, Abe told lawmakers, Japan Times reported.
Opposition heavyweight Katsuya Okada, a former foreign minister, asked Abe if there would be a case in which an MSDF destroyer and a US warship jointly respond to any suspicious ship that emerges when Japanese and US vessels are sailing nearby.
Abe answered that in such a case, a Japanese destroyer could directly communicate with a US warship, but would not share information that could be considered as taking part in a US military operation.
A Japanese destroyer left for the Middle East on Sunday to join the MSDF’s first long-term intelligence-gathering mission abroad.
The warship is scheduled to join the ongoing mission in late February. The mission commenced with the dispatch of P-3C patrol planes on Jan. 20 and is aimed at ensuring the safety of Japanese-related commercial shipping in the region.

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