Over half of voters oppose dispatching Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to the Middle East for a U.S.-led coalition to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions with Iran, a Kyodo News survey found Aug. 18.
In the nationwide telephone poll conducted Aug. 17 and 18, 57.1% said Japan should not send the SDF to the region, while only 28.2% said it should.
The U.S. has urged Japan to join the coalition but Tokyo is cautious about sending the Maritime Self-Defense Force to the strait as it could undermine its ties with Iran.
The Japanese government is considering sending MSDF destroyers and surveillance planes to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait between Yemen and the Horn of Africa rather than participating in the U.S. effort, with SDF activities overseas restricted under the war-renouncing Constitution, government sources said in early August.
The survey also showed that approval for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe rose to 50.3%, up 1.7 percentage points from the previous poll conducted after the July 21 Upper House election. Abe’s ruling camp scored a solid win in the election, but the group of lawmakers who want to amend the pacifist Constitution lost the two-thirds majority required to start the process. (Kyodo)