MSDF ships back from support duty


Two Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers returned home Tuesday after four months in the Indian Ocean providing logistic support to U.S.-led antiterrorism forces.

The 4,550-ton Inazuma, which has a crew of about 180, returned to Kure port, Hiroshima Prefecture, and the 3,850-ton Asakaze, with a crew of some 230, arrived in Sasebo port, Nagasaki Prefecture.

The destroyers were deployed July 1 to escort the MSDF supply ships Towada and Hamana in the Arabian Sea.

The supply ships provided fuel to U.S. and British vessels as part of Japan’s logistic support mission under antiterrorism legislation enacted by the Diet in October.

About 350 relatives and other MSDF members gathered at Kure base to welcome the crew of the Inazuma. Families cheered as the ship entered the port.

The crew of the Asakaze was welcomed by a crowd of 350 people when they returned to Sasebo.