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Japan will mobilize an escort vessel and P-3C patrol aircraft, government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga told the media here before a Cabinet meeting. He added that the mission will be undertaken to gather information to ensure safety along the maritime routes of the Middle East, from where Japan imports 90 percent of its fuel…reports Asian Lite News

MANILA, Aug. 7, 2017 (Xinhua) -- Japan Foreign Minister Taro Kono gestures during a press conference on the sidelines of a series of ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting in Manila, the Philippines, Aug. 7, 2017. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali/IANS) by .
Japan Defence Minister Taro Kono (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali/IANS)

The Japanese government on Friday announced that it would send a Self-Defense Force ship and aircraft to the Middle East with an aim of gathering information to ensure safe navigation on the waters of the region.

The deployment is planned for one year and at the end of this period it will be decided whether it needs extending, Efe news quoted the Ministry of Defence as saying in a statement.

Japan will mobilize an escort vessel and P-3C patrol aircraft, government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga told the media here before a Cabinet meeting.

These patrol aircraft already take part in maritime anti-piracy missions.

The mission will see the involvement of 260 personnel, state broadcaster NHK said.

Suga added that the mission will be undertaken to gather information to ensure safety along the maritime routes of the Middle East, from where Japan imports 90 per cent of its fuel.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (File Photo: IANS) by .
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The deployment is set to take place in the Gulf of Oman, in the northern Arabian Sea near the strategic Bab el-Mandeb Strait, according to the official statement.

Also addressing reporters on Friday, Defence Minister Taro Kono said that Japan had opted for the deployment in these areas taking into account the type of information that it wants to collect.

Kono added that Japan will also send Takami helicopter carrier.

The deployment of the Japanese mission and the region that will be covered by the deployment were discussed in Tokyo between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a meeting on December 20.

The government’s decision comes after several fuel transport vessels were attacked in the Persian Gulf during May and June. One of the vessels was Japanese-operated.

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