TOKYO: The Japanese government will not have the dispatch of a Self-Defense Forces mission to the Middle East set a precedent for future SDF deployments abroad, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday.
Japan decided to send Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel to the Middle East on a mission to ensure sea-lane safety for ships related to Japan in waters in the region by conducting research and study activities stipulated in the Defense Ministry establishment law.
The government has "no plans at all" to make the SDF's Middle East mission a model for future SDF troop deployments, Abe told the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament.
Abe was responding to a question from Kanae Yamamoto of Komeito, the coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, about the possibility of the Middle East mission becoming a precedent for sending SDF troops anywhere in the world, anytime.
"This time, the government has made the decision on the SDF mission after thoroughly considering the situation in the Middle East," the prime minister said.
While noting that there is no immediate need to protect ships related to Japan, Abe said his government needs to strengthen information-gathering activities for the protection of such ships amid the heightened tensions in the Middle East.