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Japan destroyer heads to Middle East as Iran-US tension lingers

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Japan sent a naval destroyer to the Middle East on Sunday for a rare overseas mission to ensure the safety of its ships amid lingering tension between Iran and the US, AFP reported.


The vessel left the Yokosuka naval base, south of Tokyo, for an information gathering mission in the Gulf of Oman, northern parts of the Arabian Sea and parts of the Gulf of Aden.


Japan earlier decided not to take part in the US-led Operation Sentinel to protect shipping routes in the region.


"Securing safety of vessels related to Japan is an important duty of the government," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the crew members of the 4,650-ton ship -- the Takanami -- as it readied to leave port.

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