• Kyodo


A Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer left its home port here Monday, bound for the Indian Ocean as part of Japan’s rear-area support for U.S.-led military operations in Afghanistan.

The 4,550-ton Ikazuchi will meet and escort the amphibious force ship Shimokita, which will leave its base in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, on Tuesday, the MSDF said.

The 8,900-ton Shimokita will help transport construction equipment and personnel for the Thai military, and after it is loaded in Thailand, the two vessels will travel to an unidentified country along the Arabian Sea in the northern Indian Ocean, the office said.

The dispatch of the Ikazuchi follows the earlier dispatch of three other Yokosuka-based ships, including the Kirishima, a 7,250-ton destroyer equipped with the advanced Aegis air defense system.

The latest dispatch was added to Japan’s antiterrorist support after the assistance was extended for another six months last Nov. 19.

The support began after the United States launched military operations against terrorist targets in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S.

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