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Japan must resist call to join U.S.-led coalition in Middle East

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Japan should never deviate from its intended role even at the urging of an ally.

During his first visit to Japan on Aug. 7, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper met with Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya and called on Japan to consider joining a “coalition of the willing” to protect shipping in and around the Strait of Hormuz in the Middle East.

Iwaya cited Japan’s need to secure a stable supply of crude oil, relations with the United States and friendly ties with Iran, and said the government will examine the matter from every aspect before making a comprehensive judgment.

Japan now has a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer and patrol aircraft deployed off Somalia as protection against piracy. To avoid provoking Iran, the government is said to be considering reassigning them to the Gulf of Oman outside the Persian Gulf, rather than........

© The Asahi Shimbun