Analysis: Japan Weighs Joining US Coalition to Protect Strait of Hormuz Oil Shipments

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Professor Lawrence Brennan contributed to S&P Global’s analysis on the likelihood that Japan will agree to join a U.S. coalition to protect commercial shipments in areas including offshore Iran.

Lawrence Brennan, who teaches maritime law at Fordham University and is a retired Navy captain who served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, said: “I would not be surprised to see a Japanese presence.”

“Japan is probably the dominant or leading party interested in transit through the Strait of Hormuz — they and the Chinese are most dependent on Middle East oil,” Brennan said.

Brennan added that Japan provided support to anti-piracy coalitions in the past, “but they didn’t provide as much active assistance as they were capable of doing,” given the limits of the Self-Defense Forces’ mission as required by the country’s constitution.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a constitutional change in the near future to have a military, but the reality is the Japanese [Maritime] Self-Defense Force looks and acts in many cases as if it were a military — and has a capacity that few militaries in the world have,” Brennan said.

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