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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 January 29 - February 4  > MSDF destroyer Takanami leaves for Middle East
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2020 January 29 - February 4 TOP3 [POLITICS]

MSDF destroyer Takanami leaves for Middle East

February 3, 2020

The Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer "Takanami" on February 2 left the Yokosuka naval base in Kanagawa for an "information-gathering operation" in the Middle East amid heightening tensions in the region.

Late last year, the Cabinet without Diet deliberation ordered the MSDF dispatch. It also decided to send Japanese liaison officers to the U.S. central command center in Bahrain in response to U.S. President Trump's request for Japan's participation in a U.S.-led "coalition of the willing". The government, in the event of a contingency, could order the MSDF unit to engage in a seaborne policing action with the possible use of weapons.

At a park adjoining the Yokosuka base, local demonstrators staged a protest action shouting, "Protect the lives of SDF personnel! Don't send an SDF vessel to the Middle East! Abide by Article 9 of the Constitution!"

About 500 family members of the MSDF personnel who were on board gathered to see them off. A woman in her 40s after seeing her husband off with two children in tow expressed apprehension, saying, "I've heard that the situation in the Middle East is unstable. I hope they will be kept out of harm's way."

Carrying 208 personnel and two patrol helicopters, the Takanami escort ship will engage in the 4-month operation in the high seas in the northern part of the Arabian Sea.

Past related article:
> Shii in Diet questioning criticizes Abe’s stance toward Middle East crisis [January 24, 2020]
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