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Japanese warship departs for Gulf of Oman to protect commercial vessels

Published: Updated:

Japanese warship left its port near Tokyo on Sunday on a mission to protect merchant ships and oil tankers passing through the Gulf of Oman that supply 90 percent of Japan’s oil, as tension in the Middle East simmers.

The helicopter destroyer Takanami and its 200-strong crew will operate with two P-3C maritime patrol aircraft to guard ships heading for Japanese ports.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government said it is prepared to authorise force to protect ships in danger - a controversial decision because Japan’s war-renouncing constitution forbids the use of military force to settle international disputes.