Kyodo News InternationalThe Japanese government has decided that one of the two Maritime
Self-Defense Force antipiracy escort vessels deployed in waters off
Somalia will join a combined operation involving the United States and
other countries, a government source said Friday.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
The government is hoping that the move will demonstrate Japan's
international contributions, the source said, adding it will be the
first time for an MSDF antipiracy vessel to participate in such an
But observers said such a move would spark public criticism as
it could violate the constitutional ban on using force abroad.
The current mission began in March 2009 based on the SDF law and
has been conducted under the antipiracy law since it was enacted in
June that year. Two MSDF ships have been dispatched to the Gulf of Aden
off Somalia to protect commercial vessels of Japan and other countries.
The one-year mission has been extended every year since 2010.
But given the sharp fall in piracy attacks in the area, Tokyo is
planning for one of the vessels to participate in a large-scale defense
operation in the Gulf of Aden that will also include Britain, China and
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet is expected to approve the
extension of the vessels' dispatch by a year ahead of the current term's
expiration on July 23.