TOKYO: Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono said Friday that a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer dispatched to Middle East waters to gather intelligence for securing sea lane safety will be rotated in early June.
The MSDF destroyer Takanami will be replaced by the Kirisame, also an MSDF destroyer, in line with the government's initial plans to switch vessels after a certain period.
"No countries have shown moves to escalate tensions," Kono told a press conference, suggesting that no major changes have occurred in the Middle East waters.
The Takanami started a surveillance mission to secure the safety of Japan-linked ships on the high seas in the northern Arabian Sea and other waters on Feb. 26.
No unusual incidents have been reported so far.
No coronavirus patients have been confirmed among Takanami crew members, due to the implementation of antivirus measures including disembarking limitations for crew at ports during refueling.
The Kirisame will leave the MSDF's Sasebo port in Nagasaki Prefecture, southwestern Japan, in early May for the Middle East.