|JS Sazanami (Image: Wiki Commons)|
TOKYO, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) Sazanami destroyer has joined the Izumo helicopter carrier in escorting a United States Navy vessel, marking the first time such a protection mission has taken place under the controversial new security legislation, sources said Wednesday.
The Sazanami joined the mission having departed from a MSDF base in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, on Tuesday, Kyodo News quoted government and other sources as saying.
Japan's Ministry of Defense (MOD) previously said the inaugural mission, since the contentious new legislation took effect last year, is aimed at a showing of Japanese force alongside that of the United States.
It is also to show that the Japan-U.S. alliance stands firm amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the MOD said.
The security legislation that took effect last year which follows looser, more ambiguous constraints imposed on Japanese forces here, in contravention of Japan's war-renouncing constitution, allows for SDF members to escort and guard vessels and weapons that belong to U.S. forces.
The protection mission proviso comes into play when the U.S. activities are deemed to be beneficial to the defense of Japan.
In this case, the mission, ordered by Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, was made as the two countries may be engaged in joint exercises or the monitoring and information-gathering activities related to missile launches by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Read the full story at Xinhua
PacificSentinel: And as usual with the Chinese, there's some Anti-Japan Propaganda at the end of the story *Rolls Eyes*