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Tom Kirkman

Japan to Deploy Warship and Naval Troops to Middle East to Ensure the Safety of Japanese Oil Tankers

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Seems that Trump has successfully convinced Japan to shoulder more responsibility for the safety of Japanese ships transporting oil from the always volatile Middle East to Japan.

Waiting for environmentalists to start screaming bloody murder about the unfairness of Trump getting Japan to secure its own oil tankers in the Middle East.  TDS is endlessly amusing.


Japan to Deploy Warship to Middle East

Japan next month will send a warship to patrol regional shipping lanes in the Middle East, a volatile region from which it sources much of its crude oil, the country’s cabinet office announced Friday.

The rare overseas deployment is intended to ensure the “peace and stability” of Japanese merchant ships, the cabinet office said in a statement, after a series of attacks on oil tankers over the summer.

The deployment will include one destroyer and a P-3C patrol plane, which will be tasked with collecting information that “directly impacts the security of vessels navigating” the region, the cabinet said.

The decision follows a meeting last week in Tokyo between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, and earlier calls by the United States to form an international coalition to protect ships in the region.

Japan, which depends on the United States for its defense, has come under pressure from President Trump to play a more active role in protecting its interests in the Middle East.  ...


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Oh, and here is a bit of "contentious" spin from Associated Press:

Japan OKs divisive plan to send naval troops to Mideast


People hold placards protesting against a troop dispatch to Middle East outside the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo Friday, Dec. 27, 2019.  The placard at left reads: "Oppose a dispatch of Japan Self-Defense Forces to Middle East."

Japan on Friday approved a contentious plan to send its naval troops to the Middle East to ensure the safety of Japanese ships transporting oil to the energy-poor country that heavily depends on imports from the region.

The Cabinet's decision reflects tensions that have escalated between Iran and the U.S. since President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal.

”Taking into consideration the escalating tension in the Middle East, it is necessary to strengthen our information gathering effort," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide suga told a news conference. Citing Japan's heavy dependence on oil imports from the region, Suga added that “it is extremely important to secure the safe navigation of Japan-affiliated ships."

Despite being a U.S. ally, Japan's troop dispatch is not part of a U.S.-led coalition protecting Middle East waterways, apparently an attempt to maintain neutrality in a show of consideration to Iran.

Under the plan, Japan will send about 260 Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel with a destroyer and a pair of P-3C reconnaissance aircraft, mainly for intelligence-gathering in the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.   ...


... Japan will stay away from the Strait of Hormuz, where the U.S.-led coalition is operating.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe explained the plan to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani when he visited Tokyo last week.

Japan, which has friendly ties with both Iran and the U.S., also seeks to serve as a mediator between the two and play a greater role in restoring stability in the region, officials said.

The Middle East supplies more than 80% of Japan's oil needs.

Sending warships to areas of military tension is a highly sensitive issue in Japan because its pacifist post-World War II constitution limits the use of force by the military strictly to self-defense. Abe, however, has gradually expanded Japan’s military role in recent years.

In June, a Japanese-operated tanker was attacked in the Gulf of Oman. Washington said Iran was responsible and urged Japan to join the U.S.-led military initiative.

Petroleum Association of Japan Chairman Takashi Tsukioka welcomed a troop dispatch in a statement: “The Middle East situation continues to be uncertain and we believe it will contribute to the safety of ship navigation in the Middle East.”


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