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International relations

Japan Cabinet approves MSDF units' dispatch to Middle East

Move marks first overseas operations since security-related laws enacted in 2015

MSDF ships and planes will be dispatched to the Middle East to conduct "survey and research" operations.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Japan's Cabinet approved on Friday the dispatch of Maritime Self-Defense Force units to the Middle East, for the first time since the country enacted security-related bills in 2015, which were aimed at easing requirements for dispatching the MSDF.

A helicopter-equipped destroyer and patrol planes will conduct maritime security "survey and research” operations under the Act for Establishment of the Ministry of Defense. MSDF sailors dispatched for such purposes are not permitted to use weapons unless they are conducting maritime security operations in an emergency.

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