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LDP Backs Planned MSDF Dispatch to Middle East

LDP Backs Planned MSDF Dispatch to Middle East

   Tokyo, Jan. 9 (Jiji Press)--Many members of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party called on the government Thursday to dispatch a Maritime Self-Defense Force unit to the Middle East as planned.
   The MSDF dispatch should rather be materialized when tensions are heightening, they said at a joint meeting of the LDP's foreign affairs and national defense divisions, according to people with access to the meeting.
   Opinions in favor of the dispatch were expressed after LDP policy chief Fumio Kishida said in his initial remarks at the meeting that the party "should closely watch local situations while expecting no escalation of tensions" between the United States and Iran.
   Emerging from the meeting, former Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters, "To ensure the safety of Japanese vessels' navigation (in the Middle East), information gathering is very important."
   The cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to send the MSDF unit to the unstable region for "research and study" purposes.

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AFP-JIJI PRESS NEWS JOURNAL


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