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SDF deployment to Middle East would put Japan in risky waters

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Japan’s plan to deploy the Self-Defense Forces to areas near the Strait of Hormuz, if implemented, could gum up diplomatic efforts to ease tensions between the United States and Iran.

We cannot support the envisioned SDF mission in the region that is at the heart of the acrimonious confrontation between Washington and Tehran at the moment.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration is considering dispatching SDF troops to the volatile region to protect tankers and other vessels on its own instead of joining the international “coalition” to safeguard ships being pushed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

It is obviously an idea the Abe administration has hammered out in desperate efforts to avoid upsetting the Trump administration without damaging Japan’s traditionally good relationship with Iran.

The plan on the table would exclude the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf from the areas where the SDF would operate in a clear sign that Tokyo wants to avoid straining its ties with Tehran.

Abe has been making diplomatic efforts to mediate between the United States and Iran. He visited Iran in June and held talks with the leaders of both countries during his visit to New York to........

© The Asahi Shimbun