South Korea plans to deploy an anti-piracy unit – now operating off the coast of Africa – to the area around the Strait of Hormuz. This decision comes after the US called for help in guarding oil tankers.
Japan has decided to dispatch a warship and patrol planes to the Arabian Gulf, while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, in spite of increased tensions in the Middle East.
Japan is considering the possibility of sending 270 seamen to the Middle East to protect vessels supplying Japan, in line with a law that allows military deployments for research and intelligence gathering, Reuters reported citing information from Nikkei.
The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs identified another foreign vessel suspected of conducting illegal ship-to-ship transfers in cooperation with North Korean tankers, an action which Japan reported to the Security Council Committee (Panel of Experts) and shared information with related countries.
The Japanese Government donated 17 patrol boats to Kenya’s Maritime Police, boosting the country’s efforts in the promotion of maritime security and the fight against terrorism. The Japanese Ambassador to Kenya further noted that Japan could not afford to ignore Kenya’s problem, due to the warm cordial relations between the two nations of more than 50 years.
Japan recently announced that it will not follow US’s coalition into sending security vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, amid the tensions in the area. Yet, Yomiuri Shimbun, Japanese newspaper, reported that Japan is thinking of sending a destroyer to operate in nearby areas.
Japan is considering whether Self-Defense Forces troops should participate in a US-proposed coalition to protect strategic waters near the Strait of Hormuz, amid reports saying that the government is analyzing such a move. According to the law, the SDF can protect non-Japanese ships, but it only allows for action to be taken against pirates, and not threats from ships controlled by foreign governments.
Countries like China and Japan, that largely depend on shipping trade in the Strait of Hormuz, should be protecting their own ships on what ‘has always been a dangerous journey’, said US President Trump in an official statement in the light of an ongoing tension in the Middle East.
On the 13th East Asia Summit at Singapore in mid-November, the Quad countries, namely India, US, Japan and Australia, are expected to revitalise the conversation concerning the maritime security and disaster relief initiatives as well as economic development projects in the critical Indo-Pacific region.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre, jointly launched the Capacity Building Executive Programme 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. The Programme aims to improve skills of maritime regulatory & enforcement authorities in fight against piracy and sea robbery in Asia.
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