On 27 December the Japanese Cabinet formally approved a plan to deploy a Maritime Self-Defense Force unit on an intelligence-gathering mission in the area off Yemen and Oman, amid heightened tensions over Iran’s controversial nuclear programme, press reports in Tokyo indicated.
The Defense Ministry is planning to send the TAKANAMI, a 4,650t destroyer to the Gulf of Oman in early February, with the objective of commencing operations by the end of the month in the northern part of the Arabian Sea and the eastern side of the Bab el-Mande Strait. TAKANAMI can embark a single anti-submarine warfare helicopter.
Tokyo also plans to mobilize two P-3C ORION anti-submarine patrol aircraft that are currently engaging in anti-piracy patrol missions off Somalia for the planned intelligence activities.
About 200 crew will be aboard the destroyer and some 60 personnel will be mobilized for the P-3C unit. The government plans to spend ¥4.68 billion (€38.3 million) on the operation in fiscal 2020, government officials said.