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International relations

Japan weighs US effort to guard ships in Middle Eastern waters

Questions remain about whether escorting falls within legal constraints on use of force

A U.S. sailor mans a patrol boat at a port in Bahrain. Tensions have mounted in waters around the Persian Gulf, a vital shipping route for Japanese oil.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan is considering participation in a U.S.-led naval coalition to escort commercial vessels in waters off the Iranian coast, depending on whether the details of Washington's plan fit within Tokyo's legal frameworks on the use of force, Nikkei has learned.

"Japan and the U.S. are in close communication" about the matter, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro Nogami told reporters Wednesday, though he declined to provide details about the possibility of Japan's involvement.

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