Japan not now considering sending military for U.S.-proposed maritime coalition: Suga

FILE PHOTO: Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga speaks at a news conference about North Korea's missile launch in Tokyo, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo on September 15, 2017. Kyodo/via REUTERS/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s top government spokesman said on Tuesday that there was no change in the country’s stance that it was not considering sending its Self-Defence Forces for a U.S.-proposed maritime coalition in the Middle East.

Asked if there was a change in the position previously stated by Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said it was “as Minister Iwaya said.”

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton on Monday met Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Iwaya and national security adviser Shotaro Yachi.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday that before making a decision on joining the United States, Japan wants to fulfill what it sees as a unique role it has to play in reducing tension.

Reporting by Linda Sieg and Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim