Saturday morning’s Asahi reported on the disclosure by several GOJ sources that MSDF ships have been conducting surveillance operations in international waters in the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan since the end of last year to prevent the smuggling of sanctioned items into North Korea. This is reportedly the first time for the SDF to be involved in international activities to enforce UN resolutions. In the Sea of Japan, the SDF and the U.S. Navy reportedly patrol together, each in an assigned area. Photos and other data on vessels recorded by MSDF warships are transmitted to the U.S. military. Other papers ran similar stories, with Tokyo Shimbun saying that the Japanese operation was reportedly launched in response to a request from the U.S. and that it indicates enhanced “synchronization” between the SDF and the U.S. military.