A Japanese destroyer left for the Gulf of Oman at the beginning of the week.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the crew at Yokosuka naval base near Tokyo, before they cast off in a ceremony attended by 500 family members and representatives from the US, European nations and Middle East, that “thousands of Japanese ships ply those waters every year, including vessels carrying nine tenths of our oil. It is Japan’s lifeline”,
Abe’s government has said it is prepared to authorize force to protect ships in danger. The move was controversial because Japan’s constitution forbids the use of military force in international disputes.
The Takanami will be joined by two maritime patrol planes, but it will not join a naval force led by the US or any other naval coalitions in the region. The vessel will operate independently.
Japan maintains cordial relations with Iran and other countries there.
The Takanami, with 200 sailors and two helicopters, will patrol the Gulf of Oman, the northern Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden, but it will not enter the Strait of Hormuz.