Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force “Takanami” destroyer left for the Middle East mission to guard sea lanes where Japan sources nearly 90 per cent of its crude oil.
A ceremony marking the event was led by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was held at Yokosuka Naval Base, Kanagawa prefecture, on Sunday.
The warship departed the naval base south of Tokyo for an information gathering mission in the Gulf of Oman. The ship, manned by 200 sailors and hosting two maritime patrol planes onboard, will also conduct patrols in the northern Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
“Japanese merchant ships were attacked in June, and other nations have increased patrols so Japan too is acting to gather intelligence there,” mission commander Captain Yosuke Inaba told the press at port.
The Japanese government, hoverer, decided not to join the US-led Operation Sentinel maritime security initiative near the Strait of Hormuz, and will thus operate independently.
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