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Japan Says Safety of Ships in Hormuz Is a Matter of ‘Life and Death’

  • Trump tweeted that Japan and China should defend own ships
  • Suga says Japan will continue diplomatic efforts with U.S.
A U.S. Navy vessel guards the Japanese oil tanker Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman.

A U.S. Navy vessel guards the Japanese oil tanker Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman.

Photographer: Mumen Khatib/AFP via Getty Images

Japan sees ensuring the safety of shipping in the Strait of Hormuz as a matter of life and death in terms of its energy security, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Suga was responding Tuesday to a question about President Donald Trump’s tweet that said nations heavily dependent on fuel exports from the Middle East -- including China and Japan -- should defend their own ships rather than relying on the U.S. The Trump administration has blamed Iran for recent attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf, though Iran denies it.