• Kyodo, JIJI

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The ruling Liberal Democratic Party endorsed a draft plan Friday for an independent mission to dispatch a Self-Defense Forces unit to the Middle East, paving the way for Cabinet approval later this month.

The draft, which is likely to be approved Dec. 23 by the Cabinet, stresses the importance of ensuring the safety of navigation for Japan-related vessels operating in the Middle East and stipulates the dispatch of a helicopter-carrying destroyer and patrol aircraft as well as some 250 SDF personnel to boost intelligence gathering in the region.

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