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International relations

Japan helicopter carrier conducts operation to protect US ships

Maritime Self-Defense Force embarks on first mission under new security law

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The MSDF's helicopter carrier Izumo left a U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo, on May 1.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- With tensions on the Korean Peninsula running high, Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force conducted an operation to safeguard U.S. vessels for the first time since the country enacted new security legislation allowing such actions in March last year.

The MSDF helicopter carrier Izumo left the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, on Monday morning. The mission, ordered by Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, is aimed at deterring the North Korean regime, which attempted to test fire a ballistic missile on Saturday, from further provocations by demonstrating a robust U.S.-Japan alliance.

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