Photo/IllutrationDefense Minister Takeshi Iwaya, center, at a June Diet session. (Takeshi Iwashita)

Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya ruled out any immediate dispatch of Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels to the Strait of Hormuz off Iran to join a U.S.-led multinational coalition to bolster maritime security in the region.

"I am not thinking about deploying the MSDF at the present time," Iwaya said at a July 16 news conference.

He did not reveal if Washington had formally asked Japan for assistance.

Although a tanker owned by a Japanese shipping company came under attack in the strait in June, Iwaya speculated that the situation in the Strait of Hormuz could be in a "temporary lull" as no further attacks have occurred.