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International relations

Japan eyes intel mission near Persian Gulf in early 2020

SDF information gathering would run alongside US-led operation in shipping lane

Japan plans to gather intelligence around the Persian Gulf using a P-3C patrol craft.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan looks to dispatch the Self-Defense Forces on an intelligence gathering mission around the Persian Gulf early next year to help secure a key shipping route.

The government is working to secure approval for the mission from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet this month. This deployment of SDF personnel would involve sharing intelligence with Operation Sentinel, the U.S.-led naval coalition tasked with securing the Strait of Hormuz following attacks on oil tankers that Washington blames on Iran. Operation Sentinel is set to be fully underway in January.

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