Japan officially declined to join the US-led anti-Iranian coalition

Japan has informed Washington of its refusal to join the US-led naval alliance on the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran Press/Asia: Japan plans to send its military to help protect waterways in the Middle East but will not join a US-led maritime coalition in the region, Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday.

The move comes after attacks on tankers in the  Persian Gulf as well as on Saudi Arabian oil installations. Washington, other Western states and Saudi Arabia blame the attacks on Tehran, which denies any involvement.

Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi informed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of Tokyo's plan in a phone call on Tuesday, Kyodo said.

Japan is considering sending two destroyers to the region, including one already on an anti-piracy mission off Somalia, Kyodo said, citing sources close to the matter.

But the ships are not expected to operate in the Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the global oil trade passes and where the US-led coalition operates.

Most of Japan's oil imports come from the Middle East.

Japan has longstanding relations with Iran despite Tokyo's alliance with the United States.


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