MSDF Mission in Middle East Reaches 1-Year Mark
Tokyo, Jan. 20 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force's activities to ensure the safe navigation of vessels related to Japan in the Middle East reached the one-year mark Wednesday.
The mission to gather intelligence in the high seas in the Gulf of Aden and the northern Arabian Sea started with the dispatch of a P-3C patrol aircraft unit amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran. A destroyer was deployed the following month.
Since then, the MSDF team has spotted 55,000-plus Japan-linked ships sailing in the waters covered by the mission and found no need to protect them. The mission was initially set to end at the end of 2020 but was extended for a further year.
At a press conference Tuesday, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi underscored the significance of the MSDF presence there, saying, "Industry groups have expressed their gratitude."
But the future of the mission is expected to be influenced by what policies incoming U.S. President Joe Biden takes in the region.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]