Japan to tackle pirates off Somalia
JAPAN: Japan said Thursday it was considering dispatching a destroyer
to waters off Somalia to guard against pirates who are inflicting a
costly toll on the shipping industry.
A growing number of nations are sending navy ships to fight pirates
near the lawless East African country, with Japan’s neighbour and
sometime rival China set to dispatch three vessels on Friday.
“Japan has to deal quickly with this issue,” Chief Cabinet Secretary
Takeo Kawamura, the government spokesman, told a news conference.
But Japan has legal problems with sending warships because of its
pacifist post-World War II Constitution. Under domestic laws, the navy
can only protect ships flying the Japanese flag or carrying Japanese
“Are the current laws appropriate for a mission like this?” Kawamura
“The laws stipulate that, as a general rule, Japanese (military)
ships can operate within our territorial waters. But is that OK when we
are discussing cooperation with the international community?” he said.
Kawamura said ruling bloc lawmakers will study changes in
The Mainichi Shimbun, quoting unnamed sources, said that Prime
Minister Taro Aso may announce a decision on an operation by the end of
The UN Security Council has given nations a one-year mandate to act
inside Somalia to stop the rampant piracy in the Gulf of Aden, part of
the Suez Canal route from Europe to Asia.
Some shipping companies have chosen to travel around Africa, a longer
and more expensive route, to avoid the increasingly brazen pirate
Japanese forces have not fired a shot in combat since World War II.
But the country has tried to take on a larger role in international
security, notably through a reconstruction mission in Iraq.
China’s dispatch of two destroyers and a supply ship mark the first
time in recent history that Beijing has deployed vessels on a potential
combat mission well beyond its territorial waters.