Close  

Japan to send own force, won’t join US coalition for Mideast

/ 10:03 AM October 19, 2019

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga (Kyodo News via AP)

TOKYO — Japan’s government said Friday it has decided not to join a U.S. coalition to protect commercial vessels in the Middle East but is preparing to send its own force to ensure the safe shipment of oil to Japan.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Japan will keep cooperating closely with Washington even if it won’t join the initiative the U.S. says is aimed at protecting commercial tankers from alleged Iranian attacks.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Peace and stability in the Middle East is extremely important for the international society, including Japan,” Suga said at a news conference. “After we studied comprehensively what measures can be most effective, we have decided to pursue our own measures separately.”

Japan’s energy needs rely heavily on oil imports. It has kept friendly ties with Iran and is reluctant to join such a force.

FEATURED STORIES

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has tried to help ease tension between Washington and Tehran.

U.S.-Iranian relations have deteriorated since President Donald Trump last year pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and re-imposed sanctions that deteriorated the Iranian economy. Iran has since begun breaking terms of the deal.

The tensions have included seizures of oil tankers at sea.

Suga said Japan plans to deploy warships initially for information gathering purposes to the Gulf of Oman, the Northern Arabian Sea and nearby waters, but did not include the Strait of Hormuz at the center of the U.S.-Iran tension. Warships are expected to Timing of a dispatch hasn’t been decided.

Sending warships to areas of military tension is a highly sensitive issue in Japan, where its pacifist postwar constitution strictly limits use of force to the country’s self-defense only. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, has gradually expanded Japan’s military role.

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

ADVERTISEMENT
Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Iran, Japan, Middle East, Sea piracy, US coalition, Yoshihide Suga
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.