According to reports from Japanese media on Tuesday, the Japanese cabinet has authorized a one-year extension of its Self-Defense Forces in the Middle East, responding to the ongoing turmoil in the region.
The initial mandate for the military presence was set to expire on November 19, as per public broadcaster NHK.
As it stands, Japan has a destroyer and a pair of patrol planes in operation within the Middle East, but plans are in place to reduce the aircraft deployment to just one.
The Japanese administration has justified the extension by citing potential risks from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and emphasizing the importance of safeguarding key maritime routes in the area.
Additionally, Japan has committed to continuing its involvement with four of its personnel in the Sinai Peninsula for another year to support the ceasefire monitoring operations.
In related regional developments, on October 7, the Palestinian organization Hamas initiated a sudden offensive against Israel from Gaza, resulting in casualties and the capture of individuals in nearby Israeli locales.
Israel responded with missile attacks and imposed a stringent blockade on the Gaza Strip, which houses over 2 million residents. Later, on October 27, Israel undertook a significant ground offensive into Gaza with the stated aim of dismantling Hamas’s capabilities and rescuing those abducted.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza has announced that the death toll from continuous Israeli airstrikes since October 7th has exceeded 10,000 casualties.
Ashraf al-Qudra, the ministry’s spokesperson, made this announcement during a press conference on Monday, marking the 31st day of the conflict.
Al-Qudra emphasized the urgent need for a safe humanitarian corridor to allow the entry of medical supplies, fuel, and medical delegations into Gaza.