Japan MSDF Not to Join U.S. Military in Middle East: Abe
Tokyo, Feb. 4 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force unit currently deployed in the Middle East will not take part in any exercise of force by the U.S. military there, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday.
While the MSDF unit will provide information to the U.S. military around once in a day, it will "not come under the (U.S.) command in military operations," Abe told a meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament.
Opposition heavyweight Katsuya Okada, former foreign minister, asked Abe if there would be a case in which an MSDF destroyer responds jointly with a U.S. warship to any suspicious ship that emerges when the Japanese and U.S. vessels are sailing nearby.
Abe answered that in such a case, a Japanese destroyer could directly communicate with a U.S. warship, but would not conduct information sharing that is deemed as participation in a U.S. military operation.
The dispatch of the MSDF unit to the Middle East is aimed at gathering information for sea lane safety in the region.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]