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Escort mission ushers the US-Japan alliance into a new era

SDF ship guards an American supply vessel in a message to North Korea

TOKYO The alliance between Japan and the U.S. has reached a new stage, after the Japanese Self-Defense Forces kicked off their first peacetime escort of an American warship. The move takes the partnership beyond joint drills and policy coordination, and marks a step toward cooperation in times of conflict.

With tensions on the Korean Peninsula running high, the Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter carrier Izumo left the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, on the morning of May 1. The mission, ordered by Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, is intended to demonstrate a robust U.S.-Japan alliance and deter the regime in Pyongyang from further provocations.

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