Amid tensions between Washington and Tehran, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer JS Takanami left for the Middle East on 2 February to take part in an 11-month intelligence-gathering mission aimed at helping ensure the safety of vessels conducting commercial operations with Japan.
The JMSDF mission, which was approved by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on 27 December 2019, also includes two P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), which have been operating in the region since 21 January from Japan's base in Djibouti. Other Japanese aircraft of this type have been operating from this location since 2009 to hunt for pirates off the coast of Africa.
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