Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono said Friday that his country will send military vessels and aircraft to the Middle East to provide security in the troubled region.

According to Asahi Shimbun, the Japanese military mission will consist of the destroyer Takanami, two P-3C patrol planes and 200 sailors and officers.

He reported that the aircraft will take off tomorrow for an unidentified country in the Middle East.

He added that the Takanami will set sail from the port of Yokosuka on Sunday, February 2, to patrol areas of the Gulf of Oman in the northern Arabian Sea, and near the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait, the entrance to the Red Sea from the south.

The minister argued that the objective of the naval and air deployment is to guarantee the maritime routes of the Middle East, from where Japan imports 90 percent of the oil it consumes.

The move comes despite the fact that the Japanese Constitution, approved after World War II, establishes in Article 9 the pacifist character of the country.


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