Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Japan on Tanker Patrol

It is always interesting to watch as Japan continues a growing habit of re-establishing her military on the world stage;
Japan will send a destroyer that can carry one or two patrol helicopters in early February, with hopes that the vessel can start operations by the end of the same month in the Gulf of Oman, the northern part of the Arabian Sea and the eastern side of the Bab el-Mande Strait.

The Defense Ministry is preparing to send Takanami, a 4,650-ton destroyer that can carry one anti-submarine patrol helicopter.

Tokyo also plans to mobilize two P-3C anti-submarine patrol airplanes that are currently engaging in anti-piracy patrol missions off Somalia for the planned intelligence activities.

About 200 crew members will be aboard the destroyer and about 60 staffers will be mobilized for the P-3C unit. The government plans to spend ¥4.68 billion on the dispatch in fiscal 2020, government officials said.
Exceptionally professional and capable ... but still hesitant for all the reasons we would expect, by habit.

We should encourage the Japanese as much as possible to keep stretching and gaining institutional experience. It is good for Japanese defense capabilities, American alliance heft, and the international effort to keep the seas safe for commerce.
Under the plan, the SDF unit won’t be authorized to use any weapons to defend other ships.

But in the event of an emergency, Tokyo could invoke an SDF law and put the unit on maritime policing operations, which would allow the destroyer and aircraft to use weapons to defend Japanese-flagged ships, officials said.

However, under international law, the SDF unit engaging in maritime policing activities would not be allowed to use weapons to defend foreign-flag ships. Most oil tankers operated by Japanese firms are registered in foreign countries due to low operating costs there.

During a news conference later the day, Defense Minister Taro Kono did not elaborate when asked whether and how the SDF unit could defend such a foreign-flagged ship operated by a Japanese firm.

Kono just said the SDF will “make a decision based on individual situations” and possible defense tactics would include giving a verbal warning to a party assaulting a foreign-flagged ship and deploying a destroyer close to the situation.
More of this. Much more.

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