Japan Sets the Budget for Sending its Troops to the Middle East

Hülya Karahan: Production Editor

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The government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided today, (Tuesday), to use about 4.6 million dollars of this year’s budget reserve to spend on the Japanese Self-Defense Forces in the Middle East.

Local media reported that the government’s decision aims to act to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East, as well as the safety of ships connected to Japan in the waters of the Arabian Gulf.

Last Friday, the Japanese Minister of Defense ordered the deployment of the Self-Defense Forces  to the Middle East.

Japan confirmed this week that it would stick to plans to deploy forces in the Middle East to ensure the safety of its ships, despite escalating tensions in this region, after the United States killed the Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force’s patrol unit, which will be the first in the SDF dispatch to the eastern region, departed Japan on the 11th.

Dispatched are two P3C patrol aircraft from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Naha Air Base. The patrol aircraft was dispatched to replace anti-piracy units off the coast of Somalia in Africa, and based on a SDF dispatch to the Middle East last month decided by the Cabinet, new patrol aircraft from Gathering information necessary for safety is added to the mission.

A departure ceremony was held at Naha Air Base on the 11th, and Misasa Shuichi Ino, commander of the dispatched unit, reported the departure to Minister of Defense Kono. The dispatched members exchanged words with the family who had come off and boarded the patrol aircraft.

The patrol unit is composed of about 60 members, and is based in Djibouti in eastern Africa and gathers information over the Gulf of Aden off Somalia.

According to officials of the Ministry of Defense, information on the type and course of suspicious vessels, such as navigating with a system called AIS, informing the location of the vessels, etc., is being collected.

The patrol aircraft are scheduled to begin operations this month on 20th, and one escort ship will depart for the site on the 2nd of next month, and will begin operations in the Gulf of Oman from late next month.

Minister of Defense Kono instructed, “It is important to ensure the safety of navigation of Japanese vessels,” and sent off patrol aircraft heading to the site.

Amidst tensions in the Middle East, Minister of Defense Kono, who ordered the dispatch of one SDF escort ship and two patrol aircraft, departed for the P3C patrol aircraft on the morning of the Maritime Self-Defense Force Naha Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture on the morning of November 11.

Prior to his departure, Minister Kono told SDF members of the dispatched unit, “It is very important to ensure the safety of navigation of Japanese vessels in the Middle East, a major source of energy. Please take your energy and carry on with your mission. ”

Minister Kono told reporters, “This is the first unit to carry out information gathering activities as a unique initiative in Japan. There are no negative reactions from the countries concerned, and we can send it out with peace of mind. I am convinced that it will work. ”

It also revealed that the unit had been working abroad for a certain period of time, and had been instructed to report its activities every day.

Following the patrol aircraft unit, the escort ships are also preparing to pack for departure next month.