TOKYO: The Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer Takanami started a surveillance mission to secure the safety of Japan-linked ships in Middle East waters Wednesday.
The MSDF vessel is tasked with gathering information including on suspicious ships on the high seas in the northern Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman while sharing information with the United States and other countries.
The Takanami has a crew of about 200 and carries two patrol helicopters. Japan will dispatch another unit to replace the Takanami in about four months.
As part of the mission, Japanese P-3C patrol aircraft have been active since January, mainly over the Gulf of Aden off Somalia.
The mission is scheduled to run until Dec. 26. It can be extended upon cabinet approval.