Japan condemns Yemen's Houthi cargo ship hijacking in Red Sea

Japan has condemned the Iranian-backed Houthi militants' hijacking of a British-owned cargo ship operated by Japan in the Red Sea.

A spokesman for the Yemeni militia stated that the vessel's capture was merely the start of a "battle at sea" and that it belonged to the Israeli military.

Israel asserted that the vessel was not Israeli, and a spokesman for the Japanese government stated that Nippon Yusen operated it.

According to Japan's chief cabinet secretary, efforts were underway to secure the ship's release.

Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, attributed the hijacking to Iran, an ally of the Houthi. Mr. Netanyahu stated that neither the ship nor its crew were Israeli and referred to the incident as a "attack by Iran against an international vessel."

Iran has averted any implication. Nippon Yusen, also known as NYK Line, a Japanese shipping corporation, reported that the Galaxy Leader was carrying 25 crew members when it was seized near Hodeida, Yemen en route to India.

It is believed that Bulgarian, Filipino, Bulgarian, and Ukrainian nationals were among those on board.

Galaxy Leader is under the ownership of Galaxy Maritime Ltd., an Isle of Man-incorporated company.

Ray Car Carriers, which is co-owned by Israeli industrialist Abraham Ungar, is the owner, according to documents from the Companies registry of the Isle of Man Government.

Galaxy Maritime Ltd. stated in a statement cited by sources that the vessel was "illicitly seized by military personnel via helicopter" on Sunday and was currently being detained at the Yemeni port of Hodeidah.

Monday, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, stated that the Japanese government categorically condemns such an incident. He further stated that no Japanese nationals were present among the crew.

He stated that ministries and agencies were collaborating with the appropriate nations to secure the vessel and its crew's early release.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller condemned the Houthi's capture of the vessel as "a flagrant violation of international law" and demanded that the vessel and its personnel be released "immediately."

Yahya al-Sarea, a military spokesman for the Houthi, asserted that the vessel belonged to Israel and had been transferred to a Yemeni port.

The organisation had previously issued a threat to destroy any Israeli vessel within its vicinity in retaliation for Israel's retaliatory military operation in the Gaza Strip subsequent to the October 7 assault carried out by Hamas militants.

Several missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles were launched by the Houthis in the direction of Israel shortly after Israel launched its retaliatory operation.

The United States stated at the time that its warship in the Red Sea intercepted every missile and drone. The IDF, or Israel Defence Forces, termed the shipwreck a "huge incident with worldwide repercussions."

The IDF stated that the vessel was confiscated in the southern Red Sea near Yemen en route from Turkey to India.

Recently, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the foreign minister of Iran, stated that resistance organisations allied with Tehran were "deftly adjusting pressure" on Israel and its supporters.

According to American officials, the Houthis fired down a US military drone off the coast of Yemen earlier this month.

The Houthis and the official Yemeni government, which is supported by Saudi Arabia, have been embroiled in a protracted civil conflict since 2014.