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Nobu, I find you singularly annoying in that you see any tragedy through the experience of Japan as a benefit or loss. It is the same bullshit I dislike with my countrymen. Is your absolute position that anything that benefits Japan is good, regardless of who dies or what morals are forsaken? Because that seems to be the jist of your posts. Not that I think you would notice, but I think I might ignore you. You don't particularly bring anything to the table and you are generally ok with any amount of butchery so long as Japan has a more advantageous position.

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Nobu, I find you singularly annoying in that you see any tragedy through the experience of Japan as a benefit or loss. It is the same bullshit I dislike with my countrymen. Is your absolute position that anything that benefits Japan is good, regardless of who dies or what morals are forsaken? Because that seems to be the jist of your posts. Not that I think you would notice, but I think I might ignore you. You don't particularly bring anything to the table and you are generally ok with any amount of butchery so long as Japan has a more advantageous position.

Well said Josh.

 

But the thing he often misses that Japan needs very much is international cooperation. If Japan took a blatant "Japan-first" appraoch, then it'll make it harder to get the much needed international cooperation. Unlike Russia and the US, Japan has no energy resources and has developed an allergy to nuclear power. Much less room for error. Throw on top of that Earthquakes and Typhoons.

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Japan decides to make preparations for dispatching a destroyer on an independent mission to the Gulf of Oman by the end of the year. Information will be shared with the US. A P-3C may also join the dispatch.

The government on Friday decided to launch a detailed study to prepare for independently dispatching a Maritime Self-Defense Force unit to the Middle East to collect information on securing the safety of sea lanes in the region.

 

The decision was made at a National Security Council meeting of four ministers held at the Prime Ministers Office on the same day. The government is making preparations to dispatch an MSDF destroyer by the end of this year.

 

Japan will take independent measures to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East region and the safety of ships related to our country, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference on Friday.

 

Japan will not participate in a U.S.-proposed maritime security initiative that aims to protect ships in the Strait of Hormuz, he said.

 

Based on that decision, Suga also said, The government will consider the possibility of dispatching vessels and using units for antipiracy operations as new assets.

 

The legal grounds for such operations are based on a provision on survey and research activities in the Defense Ministry Establishment Law, he said.

 

An MSDF unit will likely be dispatched mainly to the Gulf of Oman, which is connected to the Strait of Hormuz, the high seas in the northern part of the Arabian Sea and the high seas east of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait off Yemen, Suga said. He did not mention the Strait of Hormuz itself.

 

In principle, the unit planned for dispatch will not escort Japan-related vessels because the situation does not require immediate protection of such ships, Suga explained.

 

However, he also said the government would consider further measures necessary to ensure the safety of the ships. The government is expected to consider issuing maritime patrol operations to protect the vessels, if necessary.

 

The MSDF currently has one destroyer and two P-3C patrol aircraft dispatched in operations to crack down on pirates in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia. In addition to sending a destroyer, the government is considering using a P-3C plane, which is currently operating in the Gulf of Aden.

 

In the Strait of Hormuz and surrounding waters, U.S. President Donald Trump said in June that countries should be protecting their own ships. In late July, the U.S. government asked Japan to join the U.S.-led maritime security initiative.

 

However, Japan has maintained good relations with Iran, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visiting the country in June. After a meeting with Trump in New York in September, Abe said, Japans unique steering [through this situation] is required.

 

Decision based on Trump summits

 

More than 80 percent of the crude oil imported by Japan passes through the Strait of Hormuz, and a tanker operated by a Japanese shipping company was attacked off the coast of Oman in June, prompting a senior Foreign Ministry source to say, [Japan] cant help but do something.

 

Japan sent officials to a meeting at which the U.S. State Department and U.S. Forces explained the initiative, to find out what the United States really wants. The government then decided that the United States would not take issue if Japan presented its own plan to send destroyers and other vessels to the area, even if Japan did not participate in the initiative to escort tankers. This decision was reached because U.S. President Donald Trump had barely mentioned the plan at Japan-U.S. summits in August and September, and because there has been no recurrence of attacks on Japanese vessels.

 

However, the government does plan to provide information obtained by the Self-Defense Forces to the United States, thereby indirectly contributing to the initiative.

 

The government also decided not to take part in the U.S. plan because it places importance on maintaining friendly relations with Iran over the long-term.

 

At a press conference, Suga said that the purpose of the MSDF dispatch is to gather information and that he has kept the timing of the dispatch obscure. He did not directly refer to the Strait of Hormuz, saying only the Gulf of Oman. This is apparently aimed at not provoking Iran.

 

A source related to the Japanese government said, If the situation calms down and there is no need for an MSDF destroyer in the future, it is best not to dispatch one.

https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006094002?fp=111139e2d161db6e4b80e52bb1bae414 Edited by JasonJ
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A second destroyer to join the dispatch to the Gulf of Oman will be coming over from doing the anti-piracy work that has been going on in the Gulf of Aden.

 

 

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan is eyeing assigning two Self-Defense Forces vessels to help protect Middle East waterways under a dispatch plan under consideration, a government source said Saturday.

An SDF ship currently in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Yemen to crack down on pirate activities will be sent on the planned new mission, joined by another ship to be dispatched from Japan, the source said.

The Defense Ministry does not want to newly send two or more ships from Japan to the Middle East given the growing significance for SDF activities in waters around Japan amid North Korean missile threats, according to the source.

The vessels will be allowed to use force to defend Japanese merchant vessels under attack, the source said.

Japan initially sent two vessels to the Gulf of Aden in 2009 but brought one back in 2016 as pirate incidents decreased.

The government said Friday it would not join a U.S.-led coalition to guard shipping traveling through the Strait of Hormuz amid tensions involving Iran.

The United States has formed a coalition to protect the Middle Eastern sea lanes following attacks on two oil tankers, one operated by a Japanese shipping firm, near the strait in June, for which Washington blamed Iran.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has said the Gulf of Oman, the northern part of the Arabian Sea and the eastern part of the Bab el-Mandeb strait, connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden would be potential locations for the dispatch.

Japan has refrained from making a decision on the U.S. initiative partly because it does not want to damage its traditionally friendly relations with Iran.

Sending SDF personnel overseas is a sensitive issue in Japan as entanglement in a foreign conflict could violate the country's war-renouncing Constitution.
https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20191020/p2a/00m/0na/004000c
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US-led coalition launches operation to protect Gulf waters

Naval coalition aims to ward off perceived Iran threat to the world's oil supply following string of attacks on tankers.

7 Nov 2019

 

A US-led naval coalition officially launched operations in Bahrain on Thursday to protect shipping in the troubled waters of the Gulf, following a string of attacks that Washington and its allies blamed on Iran.

The coalition, aimed at warding off the perceived threat to the world's oil supply, has been in the making since June.

Iran, which has denied any responsibility for the mystery attacks, has put forward its own proposals for boosting Gulf security that pointedly exclude outside powers.

Bahrain, which hosts the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, joined the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) in August. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) followed suit in September.

Australia and the UK are the main Western countries to have agreed to send warships to escort Gulf shipping. The newest member, Albania, joined on Friday.

Vessels will be escorted through the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic chokepoint at the head of the Gulf and the main artery for the transport of Middle East oil.

[...]

 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/led-coalition-launches-operation-protect-gulf-waters-191107145148132.html

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Nobu, I find you singularly annoying in that you see any tragedy through the experience of Japan as a benefit or loss. It is the same bullshit I dislike with my countrymen. Is your absolute position that anything that benefits Japan is good, regardless of who dies or what morals are forsaken? Because that seems to be the jist of your posts. Not that I think you would notice, but I think I might ignore you. You don't particularly bring anything to the table and you are generally ok with any amount of butchery so long as Japan has a more advantageous position.

Well said Josh.

 

But the thing he often misses that Japan needs very much is international cooperation. If Japan took a blatant "Japan-first" appraoch, then it'll make it harder to get the much needed international cooperation. Unlike Russia and the US, Japan has no energy resources and has developed an allergy to nuclear power. Much less room for error. Throw on top of that Earthquakes and Typhoons.

 

Good point about Japan.

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https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-News/Qatar-did-not-warn-US-UK-France-about-attacks-on-ships-report-608042

Qatar’s regime had advance knowledge of Iran’s attacks on four ships in the Gulf of Oman in May and failed to warn the US, France and the United Kingdom, according to a Western intelligence report.FoxNews.com first reported on Saturday about the eye-popping report and the implications for international security, since the vital waterway for trade connects the Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean.

“Credible intelligence reports indicate that the IRGC-Quds Forces Naval unit is responsible for the Fujairah Port attacks, and the elements of civilian government of Iran, as well as the State of Qatar, were aware of the IRGC’s activities,” the report said.The US sanctioned Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization.A US Department of Defense spokesman told Fox News: “We do not discuss matters of intelligence.”

 

 

Of course you then have to ask 'what intelligence report?'. Im in two minds whether this is reality or agitprop put up by someone to sow dissent, ill leave others to make their own judgement on it.

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The US government said Iran’s regime was behind the May 12 attack of two Saudi tankers, a Norwegian tanker and a UAE bunkering ship close to the port of Fujairah near the United Arab Emirates.

 

Why alarm the US, France, UK, and not these countries?

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Iranian official in Japan expressing opposition to Japan's SDF dispatch plan.

 

A senior Iranian official has opposed Japan's plan to dispatch Self-Defense Forces to the Middle East to help ensure the safe navigation of commercial vessels.

 

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi gave NHK an exclusive interview on Tuesday during his visit to Japan as a special envoy for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

 

Araghchi said Tehran is waiting for Japan's final decision, but it doesn't believe that the presence of any foreign forces in the region would help boost stability, security or peace.

 

The diplomat noted that he had conveyed Iran's stance to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a meeting.

 

Araghchi said US policies are the root cause of escalating tensions in the Middle East. He criticized the US for imposing "maximum pressure" on Iran and withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear agreement.

 

Araghchi also said that if Iran cannot benefit from the nuclear deal, the country will certainly take the next step, including the rejection of the International Atomic Energy Agency's inspections.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191204_15/amp.html

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Maybe they should have thought of that before they attacked a Japanese vessel, the dumb bastards.

They did it when Abe was in Iran, the first time a Japanese PM visited Iran since 1978. Abe went to try to mediate between Iran and the US on the basis of traditionally good Japan-Iran relations. If Iran respected that traditional relation, they could have just let Abe go back empty handed.

 

 

Word that Iranian president Rouhani wants to visit Japan soon.

 

TEHRAN (Kyodo) -- Iran sounded out Japan on Tuesday about President Hassan Rouhani visiting the country, a source close to bilateral relations said.

 

Iran is seen as hoping to realize such a visit at an early date while Japan is expected to examine it carefully.

 

The development comes after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Iran in June as the first Japanese leader to do so since 1978.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20191203/p2g/00m/0fp/099000c

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Iran respects nothing but force and deliberately snubbed Abe with a military attack. That is a much bigger insult than just sending him home empty handed

The JMSDF and goverment itself is probably doing their homework about ME security and maritime affairs to see the behavior of only understanding might. But the Japanese population itself probably not so much and even if they did, getting caught up in confrontation in the ME is going to sound like risky business. So I think the Japanese government is going to have to go through many motions to get enough political backing at home, otherwise the controlling party could lose to opposition party if things get ugly, like and Japanese destroyer getting hit by an anti-ship missile, limping back to some port, thus putting an end to the JMSDF dispatch. Although, Iran hit the oil supply line, it could become a bad precedent if Iran establishes a sense of control and starts using that as leverage. So I think the Japanese government is going to try to see through to the end a point to Iran about not putting the oil supply on the leverage making table. I'm going to assume Japan will have some steps ready to take to reaffirm its commitmment to keeping the oil supply line away from threats if even after a Japanese destroyer was to get hit. If the Abe administrations is tackling the Iran situation even with the JMSDF in a reasonable way then if things to get ugly, it'lm cost fewer politcal points to push through on the point with successive countermeasures rather than if the Abe adminsitration apoeared to have went in sloppily.

Edited by JasonJ
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Iran respects nothing but force and deliberately snubbed Abe with a military attack. That is a much bigger insult than just sending him home empty handed

Very possibly the low point in the modern history of relations between Japan and Iran. Abe's loss of face from the event was unwelcome.

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Possible plan to have Abe visit the ME in mid January which may include stops at Saudia Arabia and UAE for explaining the SDF dispatch. And consideration into making a fueling station at Oman.

 

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may go to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in mid-January as part of his planned trip to the Middle East intended to explain Japan's plans to send its defense forces to the region, government sources said Thursday.

 

The government is considering the dispatch of a destroyer and a P3-C patrol plane operated by the Self-Defense Forces to enhance information-gathering capabilities and ensure the safe navigation of ships. The Cabinet is expected to endorse the plan by the year's end.

 

Japan is exploring its own contributions in the Middle East that don't involve joining a U.S.-led coalition to guard ships traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil shipping route. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are part of the U.S. initiative.

 

The Gulf of Oman, the northern part of the Arabian Sea, as well as the eastern part of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, have been tapped as potential locations for Japan's dispatch of the SDF.

 

The government is weighing the possibility of having a refueling base in Oman for the SDF destroyer and Defense Minister Taro Kono may visit the country at the end of December to seek cooperation, according to the sources.

 

Japan is drawing up the dispatch plan with its closest security ally the United States and its longtime friend Iran in mind. Japan informed Iran of its intention to send the SDF when Abe met Tuesday with Abbas Araghchi, a special envoy of President Hassan Rouhani.

 

Within the ruling coalition, Komeito, the junior partner of Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, is seen as more cautious about sending the SDF.

 

One option being floated is to limit the dispatch period to one year first and make it extendable when necessary, according to government sources.

 

"We have to set a limit of some sort," Noritoshi Ishida, Komeito's policy chief, said at a press conference on Wednesday, adding that how long the mission will last should be discussed.

 

Japan has been seeking to help defuse tensions in the Middle East and serve as a bridge between Washington and Tehran amid the months-long standoff over a 2015 nuclear deal.

 

Abe's visit to Iran in June, the first by a Japanese prime minister in about four decades, did not yield substantive progress and two oil tankers -- one operated by a Japanese shipping firm -- were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz during his trip.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20191205/p2g/00m/0na/059000c?cx_testId=54&cx_testVariant=cx_4&cx_artPos=1&cx_type=contextual#cxrecs_s

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The Iranians have shown that under peacetime ROE, they can grab any ship they want even if it's in company with a warship. Unless nations are prepared to shoot down or sink any Iranian asset that comes within a certain distance, there's no way to stop the Iranians from fast roping onto a ship while the naval vessel huffs and puffs impotently. If they do enact exclusion zones around vessels under escort, the Iranians are sure to test the sincerity of such ROE. They hold all of the cards and can make others dance to their tune.

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The Iranians have shown that under peacetime ROE, they can grab any ship they want even if it's in company with a warship. Unless nations are prepared to shoot down or sink any Iranian asset that comes within a certain distance, there's no way to stop the Iranians from fast roping onto a ship while the naval vessel huffs and puffs impotently. If they do enact exclusion zones around vessels under escort, the Iranians are sure to test the sincerity of such ROE. They hold all of the cards and can make others dance to their tune.

Probably not as far as them holding all the cards but more or less yes, unless the willingness to literally shoot and sink an approaching Iranian vessel, then Iran has that capacity. But this tanker situation did come with the oil sanctions on Iran already in place. Japan began complying with oil sanctions in April. Abe visited Iran in June. With Iran economy in slowdown because of reduction of oil exports and with the current demonstations in Iran, they probably will be wanting to restore oil exports to some countries, and chip away at the total sanctions framework put in place by the US. Iran of course, dispite the sanctions and economic slowdown, still continues its proxy war with KSA group with operations in Iraq, Syria, and the backing of Houthi in Yemen. And Japan gets much oil from the KSA group. So Japan giving up on the sanctions on Iran could rub the KSA side too much. Meanwhile China imports of Iranian oil has been reduced by roughly half, its still importing Iranian oil. So does Japan go along with picking sides in the ME proxy war risking getting caught in direct confrontation or just ignore it and get oil from both sides? Without oil, Japan won't be able to balance China in the Asia-Pacific.

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US and Iran did a prisoner swap.

 

DUBAI/WASHINGTON

The United States and Iran each freed a prisoner on Saturday in a rare act of cooperation between two longtime foes whose ties have worsened since President Donald Trump took office.

 

Iran released Xiyue Wang, a U.S. citizen who had been held for three years on spying charges, while the United States freed Iranian Massoud Soleimani. He had been facing charges of violating U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

 

A senior U.S. official said Washington was hopeful that Wang's release would lead to the freeing of other Americans held in Iran and that it was a sign Tehran was willing to discuss other issues.

 

Wang appeared to be in good health and humor, he said.

 

Switzerland facilitated the swap. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met Soleimani in Zurich, state news agency IRNA said. Soleimani, who then flew to Iran, was accompanied to Switzerland by Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran, according to a U.S. official.

 

Trump thanked Iran on Twitter for what he called a "very fair negotiation" that led to the exchange. He said the swap showed the United States and Iran "can make a deal together".

 

In an earlier statement, Trump thanked the Swiss government for its help in negotiating Wang's release.

 

"Freeing Americans held captive is of vital importance to my administration, and we will continue to work hard to bring home all our citizens wrongfully held captive overseas," Trump said.

 

Arriving in Tehran, Soleimani, a stem cell expert, told reporters the Americans who had held him were "petty."

 

"I told them that I had patients that needed my help. And they said who cares. Let them die," he said. "It shows that American officials have issues with Iranians."

 

IRNA reported that Wang was released based on "Islamic clemency".

 

The releases were the result of three or four weeks of intensive negotiations, the senior U.S. official said.

 

"We're hopeful this will lead us to further success with Iran," he told reporters in a conference call.

 

Switzerland represents U.S. diplomatic interests in Iran, since Washington and Tehran cut diplomatic ties shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

 

CHARGES DROPPED

 

Wang, a Princeton University graduate student, was convicted on espionage charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2017. His family and the university have always said he was in Iran for research into a history degree and denied spying.

 

According to Princeton, he was born in Beijing in 1980, emigrated to the United States in 2001 and became a naturalised U.S. citizen in 2009. His wife and child are Chinese citizens. China, which normally requires its citizens to give up their nationality when they become citizens of another country, has not commented publicly on the case.

 

Soleimani was arrested at Chicago airport in October 2018 over U.S. allegations he tried to export biological materials to Iran in violation of sanctions imposed by Washington because of its nuclear program.

 

Tensions have risen between Iran and the United States since Trump last year pulled Washington out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Tehran's economy. Iran has responded by gradually removing its commitments under the agreement.

 

Soleimani had been due to appear in court on Dec. 11 but the charges against him were dropped, the senior official said.

 

He said no ransom was paid or any other sort of concession made by the United States. He referred questions on the status of Soleimani's legal case to the Department of Justice.

 

"But what I can tell you in light of the status of Mr Soleimani's case, this was an extraordinarily good outcome for the United States of America," the official said.

 

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

The second U.S. official said Wang would be examined by doctors in Germany, where he was expected to stay for several days.

 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Twitter he was"pleased that the Iranian government has been constructive in this matter."

 

Hua Qu, Wang's wife, told Reuters she was "happy."

 

"Our family is complete once again," she said in a separate statement. "Our son Shaofan and I have waited three long years for this day and it’s hard to express in words how excited we are to be reunited with Xiyue."

 

"We are thankful to everyone who helped make this happen."

 

Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese businessman resident in the United States who was freed in June after four years in prison in Iran, told Reuters he was the first to know of the release and had told Wang's mother and wife.

 

"Wang's wife has got a visa to travel to Germany. Wang is expected to come to Washington, D.C., on Monday," said Zakka.

 

Washington has demanded that Iran release all the Americans it is holding, including father and son Baquer and Siamak Namazi; Michael R. White, a Navy veteran imprisoned last year, and Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent missing since 2007.

 

"I hope, pray, and expect that this is not a one-time trade but the beginning of an expedited process that will bring my family home soon," Babak Namazi, Siamak's brother, said in a statement.

 

Several dozen Iranians are being held in U.S. prisons, many of them for breaking sanctions.

https://japantoday.com/category/world/update-11-united-states-and-iran-swap-prisoners-in-rare-act-of-cooperation

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Iran wants to talk about resuming oil exports to Japan with upcoming Rouhani visit.

 

Irans Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi has said that preparations are underway for President Hassan Rouhanis visit to Japan.

 

In an interview with NHK published on Saturday, he said arrangements are underway to fix a date for the visit and expressed hope it would be decided soon.

 

He said Japan is an economic partner and provider of technology to Iran, which has always been one of Japans major oil suppliers.

 

Araghchi added Iran wants to maintain the same positive relationship with Japan, and hinted at a possible resumption of oil exports.

 

If realized, it would be the first visit by an Iranian president since October 2000.

 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Iran in June as the first Japanese leader since 1978.

https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/442774/Iranian-diplomat-says-preparations-underway-for-Rouhani-s-visit

Edited by JasonJ
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Rouhani visit to be around December 20th. Reportedly, the US is OK with the visit. Also reportedly, there is expectation that Abe demand Iran to comply with the nuclear deal.

 

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The United States has shown approval toward Japan's plan to have Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visit the country, diplomatic sources said Saturday, as Tehran is seeking to break a deadlock over a nuclear deal with world powers.

 

Washington has also urged Tokyo to share the outcome of a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Rouhani, the sources said. A senior U.S. official has relayed the message to Japan.

 

Japanese and Iranian officials are arranging for Rouhani to visit around Dec. 20, according to the sources. If realized, it would be the first visit by an Iranian president since Mohammad Khatami in October 2000.

 

Building on years of friendship, Japan has been stepping up efforts to reach out to Iran, reeling from economic sanctions that the United States reinstated after President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the 2015 nuclear deal, which he called "horrible" and "one-sided."

 

Abe, an ally of Trump, visited Iran in June, becoming the first Japanese prime minister to do so since 1978 in the hope he could broker dialogue between Tehran and Washington.

 

During the potential visit by Rouhani, Abe is expected to demand that Iran comply with the nuclear deal, the sources said. Tehran has gradually stepped away from commitments under the landmark agreement under which it promised to limit its uranium stockpiles and enrichment levels in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

 

Abe may also seek Iran's understanding toward Japanese plans to send Self-Defense Forces personnel to the Middle East, the sources said. The Japanese government is considering the dispatch of a destroyer and a patrol plane to the region to enhance information-gathering capabilities and ensure the safe navigation of ships.

 

On Tuesday, Abe met with Abbas Araghchi, Iran's deputy foreign minister for political affairs, in Tokyo. The special envoy of Rouhani informed Abe of the president's intention to visit Japan, the sources said.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20191208/p2g/00m/0in/005000c

Edited by JasonJ
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The Iranians have shown that under peacetime ROE, they can grab any ship they want even if it's in company with a warship. Unless nations are prepared to shoot down or sink any Iranian asset that comes within a certain distance, there's no way to stop the Iranians from fast roping onto a ship while the naval vessel huffs and puffs impotently. If they do enact exclusion zones around vessels under escort, the Iranians are sure to test the sincerity of such ROE. They hold all of the cards and can make others dance to their tune.

Probably not as far as them holding all the cards but more or less yes, unless the willingness to literally shoot and sink an approaching Iranian vessel, then Iran has that capacity. But this tanker situation did come with the oil sanctions on Iran already in place. Japan began complying with oil sanctions in April. Abe visited Iran in June. With Iran economy in slowdown because of reduction of oil exports and with the current demonstations in Iran, they probably will be wanting to restore oil exports to some countries, and chip away at the total sanctions framework put in place by the US. Iran of course, dispite the sanctions and economic slowdown, still continues its proxy war with KSA group with operations in Iraq, Syria, and the backing of Houthi in Yemen. And Japan gets much oil from the KSA group. So Japan giving up on the sanctions on Iran could rub the KSA side too much. Meanwhile China imports of Iranian oil has been reduced by roughly half, its still importing Iranian oil. So does Japan go along with picking sides in the ME proxy war risking getting caught in direct confrontation or just ignore it and get oil from both sides? Without oil, Japan won't be able to balance China in the Asia-Pacific.

 

 

The current unrest in Iran warns that continuing their expansionist trouble making in the face of sanctions does not come without a cost, one that might be far more expensive than they thought.

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South Korea seems likely to send a destroyer, ROKS Wang Geon, that was planned for anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden to instead join the US-led coalition early next year.

 

The South Korean government is likely to send military forces to join a US-led multinational coalition to defend the Strait of Hormuz early next year.

 

According to military sources, the 4,400-ton destroyer Wang Geon of the Cheonghae anti-piracy unit is scheduled to leave Busan late this month to relieve the destroyer Kang Gam-chan which is currently operating in the Gulf of Aden.

 

The Wang Geon is expected to arrive in the Gulf of Aden in mid-January, and start anti-piracy operations and escorting vessels from February.

 

Sources said the South Korean government is likely to join the coalition, known as the International Maritime Security Construct, by changing the Wang Geon’s operation region to the Strait of Hormuz.

 

The move comes after months of pressure from the US to forge a coalition against Iran’s military activities amid tensions due to new economic sanctions against Tehran after Washington backed out from a 2015 nuclear deal last year.

 

South Korea is leaning toward accepting the US request in consideration of their alliance, cooperation on North Korea and negotiations on defense cost-sharing.

 

Seoul is reviewing plans to dispatch a field-grade commissioned officer to the Bahrain-based IMSC around January, and then change the operational area of the Wang Geon.

 

One of the four South Korean field-grade officers already working at the Combined Maritime Forces in Bahrain is likely to be sent to the IMSC.

 

News reports said that Seoul decided to take part in the joint operation to defend shipping routes between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula during a Blue House National Security Council meeting last Thursday, and informed Washington of its decision.

 

The Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday that the government was still “reviewing various plans to protect South Korean vessels and people regarding the IMSC in the Strait of Hormuz, and nothing has been decided yet.”

 

http://m.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20191218000642

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