The government plans to reduce the number of Self-Defense Forces escort ships deployed to waters in the Middle East to one from two in an effort to consolidate SDF operations. The currently deployed ship will wrap up its information-gathering activities there at the end of December. Instead of extending this deployment, the government will task an escort ship that is conducting anti-piracy operations with these activities as well so that Japan can concentrate on national defense in its territorial vicinity to guard against China’s growing military might.
The vessel that will take over the operations is an escort ship that is conducting anti-piracy activities in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia located in East Africa. (Abridged)