Japan to send military vessel, planes to Middle East

Japan's Defence Minister Taro Kono speaks during a press conference at the defence ministry in Tokyo on December 27, 2019. PHOTO | JIJI PRESS | AFP

What you need to know:

  • The move is "Japan's own measure aimed at peace and stability in the Middle East as well as ensuring safety of Japan-related vessels," Suga said, noting that 90 percent of crude oil Tokyo imports were from the region.

  • Middle East tensions have soared since early this year, when Iran was accused of attaching mines to several tankers off Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and then attacking or seizing others near the crucial Strait of Hormuz.

  • The United States formed a naval coalition to protect vessels in the region, which is critical to global oil supplies.

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