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Japanese destroyer escorts Australian vessel for 1st time

SDF expands asset protection mission under 2015 security law to include Canberra

The Japanese destroyer Inazuma escorts Australian frigate Warramunga during an exercise south of Shikoku. (Photo courtesy of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force)

TOKYO -- A Maritime Self-Defense Force ship escorted an Australian vessel during this week's bilateral naval drill, Japan's Defense Ministry said Friday, marking the first time Japanese forces protected warships other than U.S. vessels.

The escort took place during a joint exercise conducted Wednesday through Friday south of Shikoku, one of Japan's four main islands. The Japanese destroyer Inazuma protected the frigate Warramunga in response to a request from the Australian side.

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