On Jan. 20, Defense Minister Taro Kono explained to an Upper House committee that along with the Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel that would be deploying to the Persian Gulf, one MSDF officer had already started working at U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) as of Jan. 16.

The new maritime deployment has already come under scrutiny amid escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, so Kono was clear in explaining that the officer is only at the U.S. command as a liason officer (renraku-kan) for information-gathering purposes.

This distinction of the member as a "liaison officer" is critical and provides a window into how Japan's security practices are unlike any other global power. This is owing of course to Article 9 of the Constitution. Although it may seem far-fetched that the deployment of a single officer has a direct connection to the war-renunciation clause of the Constitution, it indeed does and highlights the broader-reaching but lesser-known effects of this foundational element of Japanese security.